It is the 23rd century and the Glass Bead Game is an ultra-aesthetic game which is played by scholars in the kingdom of Castalia, the remote place society has provided for the intellectual elite to grow and flourish. This game involves all branches of knowledge, and spiritual values - especially those of the east.
Since childhood, Joseph Knecht has been consumed with mastering the Glass Bead Game, which requires a synthesis of aesthetics and scientific arts, such as mathematics, music, logic, and philosophy. This he achieves in adulthood, becoming a Magister Ludi (Master of the Game) and also faces the dilemmas posed by the game's development into a ritualistic form of intellectual worship.
First published in 1946 'The Glass Bead Game' was considered Hermann Hesse's magnum opus and follows the tradition of Steppenwolf securing its place among the most important novels of the twentieth century.