Siddhartha: An Indian Tale

Siddhartha: An Indian Tale


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Siddhartha, a tale of self-discovery, is one of great novels of the early twentieth century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780141181233
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/28/1999
Series: Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics Series
Edition description: REPRINT
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 118,665
Product dimensions: 5.04(w) x 7.74(h) x 0.45(d)

About the Author

In the 1960s, especially in the United States, the novels of Hermann Hesse were widely embraced by young readers who found in his protagonists a reflection of their own search for meaning in a troubled world. Hesse’s rich allusions to world mythologies, especially those of Asia, and his persistent theme of the individual striving for integrity in opposition to received opinions and mass culture appealed to a generation in upheaval and in search of renewed values.

Born in southern Germany in 1877, Hesse came from a family of missionaries, scholars, and writers with strong ties to India. This early exposure to the philosophies and religions of Asia—filtered and interpreted by thinkers thoroughly steeped in the intellectual traditions and currents of modern Europe—provided Hesse with some of the most pervasive elements in his short stories and novels, especially Siddhartha (1922) and Journey to the East (1932).

Hesse concentrated on writing poetry as a young man, but his first successful book was a novel, Peter Camenzind (1904). The income it brought permitted him to settle with his wife in rural Switzerland and write full-time. By the start of World War I in 1914, Hesse had produced several more novels and had begun to write the considerable number of book reviews and articles that made him a strong influence on the literary culture of his time.

During the war, Hesse was actively involved in relief efforts. Depression, criticism for his pacifist views, and a series of personal crises—combined with what he referred to as the “war psychosis” of his times—led Hesse to undergo psychoanalysis with J. B. Lang, a student of Carl Jung. Out of these years came Demian (1919), a novel whose main character is torn between the orderliness of bourgeois existence and the turbulent and enticing world of sensual experience. This dichotomy is prominent in Hesse’s subsequent novels, including Siddhartha (1922), Steppenwolf (1927), and Narcissus and Goldmund (1930). Hesse worked on his magnum opus, The Glass Bead Game (1943), for twelve years. This novel was specifically cited when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946. Hesse died at his home in Switzerland in 1962.

Calling his life a series of “crises and new beginnings,” Hesse clearly saw his writing as a direct reflection of his personal development and his protagonists as representing stages in his own evolution. In the 1950s, Hesse described the dominant theme of his work: “From Camenzind to Steppenwolf and Josef Knecht [protagonist of The Glass Bead Game], they can all be interpreted as a defense (sometimes also as an SOS) of the personality, of the individual self.” 

Joachim Neugroschel (translator) has won three PEN translation awards and the French-American translation prize. He has also translated Thomas Mann's Death in Venice and Sacher-Masoch's Venus in Furs, both for Penguin Classics. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Ralph Freedman (introducer), Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Princeton University, is acclaimed for his biographies Hermann Hesse: Pilgrim of Crisis, and Life of a Poet: Rainer Maria Rilke.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Excerpted from "Siddhartha"
by .
Copyright © 1999 Hermann Hesse.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Siddhartha Introduction
Suggestions for Further Reading
A Note on the Translation

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Siddhartha 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 140 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Herman Hesses' novel depicts the journey of a boy who seeks knowledge and wisdom and quickly finds himself in times of love, devotion, and wisdom. Determined to find his path to enlightenment he witnesses and encounters the hardships which include the path of addiction and trials of his runaway son consumed by greed. Even through all his heartache he is lead by his guide, a mysterious ferryman, through his losses and recuperates by finally achieving his greatest wishes. Siddhartha shows us that the real goal in life is to be complete and always accept your hardships because in the end it is all worth it.
Aglaia More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing little treat, that you don`t want to miss out on. I like Herman Hesse anyway and it was by complete accident that I found this book. It is short, but you get immersed. A few things about the author: Hesse is a Nobel Prize laureate, born in Germany, but a Swiss writer.He wrote Siddharta in 1922. He had previously, back in the 1910s, visited India.The story focuses on Siddharta, the son of a Brahmin, who leaves his home (the story takes place in Nepal around the time of Gautama Buddha) in search of enlightenment and it recounts the experiences, the events that lead him to reach nirvana. The stories, the people, the events that he encounters all add up to him reaching a deeper understanding of the universe. In the beginning of the story, he actually meets Gautama (Gotama) Buddha, who by then reached the perfect state and listens to his teaching, but decides that he should learn to reach enlightment through his own experiences, not someone else`s teachings. The style is quite simple, yet at times it reaches almost poetic heights. As I mentioned earlier, this is a very short novel, but it took a long time (and surely a long spiritual journey) for the author to write. I highly recommend Siddharta, and other works of Herman Hesse as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this recently during a painful break-up/separation from my wife. At the time I was convinced we were getting divorced. Reading this book made me realize that I was going to be fine whatever the outcome. Once I stopped pouting around and enjoyed life with or without my wife, she came back. I credit this book with saving my marriage.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, lousy version! Full of typos, misspellings, repeated words and gibberish. A rip off even at 99 cents. It looks like they simply scanned someone else's and then never bothered to proof or even spell check. I'd like to get my money back from BN if I could figure out how.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm going to look for a different edition, maybe not an e-version because I can't get through mine from Classic Gems Publishing. I've read Herman Hesse before. This isn't Herman Hesse. This reads like someone ran his manuscript through Google translate and then sprinkled commas EVERYWHERE.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Whoa!! That was such a good story. Had to read for school and didnt expect to like it. I loved it and definitely recommend. Really makes you think.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for your own spiritual journey... you will be inspired after reading this book. Simple and meaningful. Definitely one of my all time favorites!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hesse has a great way with words. He was certainly a serious thinker himself and understood what a thinker must do to achieve peace.
purple_haze on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A beautiful novel, a journey of a boy (Siddhartha) as a young samara, as he later grows in nature with no possessions to be free of all suffering. As a young boy, a prince, he was full of riches and spoils¿ but he realized that this was not his path. This novel edifies the importance of and difficulty in acquiring Nirvana, everyone¿s path is different. Also, that Nirvana cannot be preached or talked about (Can¿t show someone how to acquire Nirvana). As Siddhartha finds tranquility and Nirvana by the river, he realizes enlightenment. ¿In his heart he learned the newly awakened voice speak, and it said to him: `Love this river, stay by it, learn from it.¿ Yes, he wanted to learn from it, he wanted to listen to it. It seemed to him that whoever understood this river and its secrets, would understand much more, many secrets, all secrets.¿-Herman Hesse
clark.hallman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I first read Siddhartha in 1969 as part of a German literature class at the University of Pittsburgh. I loved it then and I also loved it when I reread it twice since then. It has been an important book for me, especially when I first read it at a very impressionable time when I needed any little bit of spirituality that I could get. Although this book certainly did not eliminate my confusion and anxiety, it left a dormant interest in spirituality and especially in Buddhism, which blossomed many years later. That has turned out to be a positive force in my life, and although I have a long path ahead of me, I feel more comfortable about my life and the path ahead.
MariaSavva on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Siddhartha, son of a Brahman, is on a quest to find the meaning of life. We follow him as he struggles on through his journey, through many different life experiences. He is on a spiritual journey to find out for himself who he really is. Along the way he meets rich people, poor people, holy people, and becomes part of their world for a short time. Through his many encounters, he learns much more about himself and the world, but for a long time he is still not satisfied and still feels a deep need to strive for more and to search for something elusive.I think this book is relevant to everyone, because although it is telling the tale of a spiritual and religious man, it is also a tale about life and how our life experiences make us who we are. Many of Siddhartha's feelings and thoughts are common to us all as we make our way along the road of our own lives. This book reaffirms the fact that in the end we are all the same, and someone who has stayed in the same place all their life can be as wise as someone who has spent his life travelling on a long search for the truth. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Its message appears to be that we are all the same and all of our life experiences whether good or bad, are necessary for us to find ourselves, and even though everyone will go through different things, we are all bonded by the fact that we are on the same journey. I believe everyone who reads this book will be touched in some way by the simple and poignant words. I would recommend this to everyone, it's a very enlightening and though-provoking read.
TakeItOrLeaveIt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
everyone reads Sid. what's important is what cover you had and whether you chose to read any other Hesse or not. I did, and the choice lead to discovering a life-changing author. this however, is not his best it is simply a fairytale. something germans always dug.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this book.
Am1226 More than 1 year ago
A book that will make you think.
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I love it
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