Main CategoriesVisionary and Science FictionVisionary Fiction Siddhartha

Siddhartha

Product no.: 0-8112-0068-X
A Brahmin's son soon learns the way of the world by applying his three meager talents: Siddhartha could think, Siddhartha could fast, Siddhartha could wait.

Product is in stock
$6.95

Additional product information

Publisher's Synopsis

Like Hermann Hesse's other creations of struggling young men, Siddhartha has a good dose of European angst and stubborn individualism. His final epiphany challenges both the Buddhist and the Hindu ideals of enlightenment.

Neither a practitioner nor a devotee, neither meditating nor reciting, Siddhartha comes to blend in with the world, resonating with the rhythms of nature, bending the reader's ear down to hear answers from the river.

Reviews

"The cool and strangely simple story makes a beautiful little book, classic in proportion and style; it should be read slowly and with savor, preferably during the lonely hours of the night."      ~The Nation

Excerpt

"He had spend the hours of the evening with Kamala, in her beautiful pleasure-garden. They had been sitting under the trees, talking, and Kamala had said thoughtful words, words behind which a sadness and tiredness lay hidden. She had asked him to tell her about Gotama, and could not hear enough of him, how clear his eyes, how still and beautiful his mouth, how kind his smile, how peaceful his walk had been. For a long time, he had to tell her about the exalted Buddha, and Kamala had sighed and had said: 'One day, perhaps soon, I'll also follow that Buddha. I'll give him my pleasure-garden for a gift and take my refuge in his teachings.'

But after this, she had aroused him, and had tied him to her in the act of making love with painful fervour, biting and in tears, as if, once more, she wanted to squeeze the last sweet drop out of this vain, fleeting pleasure. Never before, it had become so strangely clear to Siddhartha, how closely lust was akin to death.

Then he had lain by her side, and Kamala's face had been close to him, and under her eyes and next to the corners of her mouth he had, as clearly as never before, read a fearful inscription, an inscription of small lines, of slight grooves, an inscription reminiscent of autumn and old age, just as Siddhartha himself, who was only in his forties, had already noticed, here and there, gray hairs among his black ones.

Tiredness was written on Kamala's beautiful face, tiredness from walking a long path, which has no happy destination, tiredness and the beginning of withering, and concealed, still unsaid, perhaps not even conscious anxiety: fear of old age, fear of the autumn, fear of having to die. With a sigh, he had bid his farewell to her, the soul full of reluctance, and full of concealed anxiety."

Biography
A major preoccupation of Hesse in writing Siddhartha was to cure his "sickness with life" (Lebenskrankheit) by immersing himself in Eastern philosophy. The second half of the book took very long time to write because Hesse "had not yet experienced that transcendental state of unity to which Siddhartha aspired". In order to do so, Hesse lived as a virtual semi-recluse and became totally immersed in the sacred teachings of both Hindu and Buddhist scriptures.

This book, Hesse's ninth novel, was written in German, in a simple yet powerful and lyrical style. It was first published in 1922, after Hesse had spent some time in India in the 1910's. It was published in the U.S. in 1951 and became influential during the 1960's.

Author Hesse, Hermann
Translator Rosner, Hilda
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 122 pp.
Publisher New Directions 1998
Gold Medal

Gold Medal

 
 

  Gold Medal Essential Reading

Browse these categories as well: Visionary Fiction, Western Buddhism, Gold Medal Essential Reading

We also recommend

Siddhartha
$29.99