The Steppenwolf

A middle-aged recluse who lives alone in a bourgeois lodging house. Harry Haller refers to himself as a “Steppenwolf” because he feels like a lonely wolf of the steppes, removed from the obsessions and conventions common to most people. Harry believes himself to be divided between two extremes: a man-half who shares the ideals and interests of humanity, and a beast-half that sees those aspirations as futile, absurd vanities.

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A lovely young hedonist and courtesan. Hermine resembles Romantic stereotypes such as the Madonna-Sophia figure, the noble whore, and the loving sister. Since she looks extraordinarily like Harry’s childhood friend Herman, we are led to believe that she is perhaps only a reflection of some part of Harry.

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Harry’s blonde and blue-eyed lover. Maria is a creature of the senses, talented in all the intricate arts of love and as voracious as she is generous. Her love reenergizes Harry with new hope and vitality. Harry’s love affair with Maria makes him fond of aspects of sexuality and romance that he previously had seen as degrading and trivial.


A jazz saxophone player and bandleader wildly popular among the denizens of the world of pleasure. Laconic and unabashedly modern, at first Pablo inspires the Steppenwolf only with disdain. Harry calls him a child with no worries. Pablo is the polar opposite of Harry, substituting with pleasure what Harry has in intellect.

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The renowned classical composer. Harry, who has a lifelong obsession with Mozart, encounters him in the Magic Theater as the ultimate representative of “the immortals.” This eccentric, personal Mozart is as modern as he is a man of the past, and is also thoroughly unceremonious and jocular.

The Editor

The nephew of the Steppenwolf’s landlady. The novel opens with a fictional preface by the Editor, to whom Harry has left his records, indicating he may do with them as he pleases. The Editor, a straightforwardly bourgeois individual, has respect and sympathy for Harry.