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The Glass Bead Game is an ultra-aesthetic game which is played by the scholars, creamed off in childhood and nurtured in elite schools, in the province of Castalia. The Master of the Glass Bead Game, Joseph Knecht, holds the most exalted office in Castalia. He personifies the detachment, serenity and aesthetic vision which reward a life dedicated to perfection of the intellect. But can, indeed should, man live isolated from hunger, family, children, women, in a perfect world where passions are tamed by meditation, where academic discipline and order are paramount? This is Herman Hesses great novel. It is a major contribution to contemporary philosophic literature and has a powerful vision of universality, the inner unity of mans cultural ideals and his search for personal perfection and social responsibility.