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A book—rare in our arid age—that takes root in the heart and grows there for a lifetime.
Here the spirituality of the East and the West have met in a novel that enfigures deep human wisdom with a rich and colorful imagination.
Written in a prose of almost biblical simplicity and beauty, it is the story of a soul's long quest in search of he ultimate answer to the enigma of man's role on this earth. As a youth, the young Indian Siddhartha meets the Buddha but cannot be content with a disciple's role: he must work out his own destiny and solve his own doubt—a tortuous road that carries him through the sensuality of a love affair with the beautiful courtesan Kamala, the temptation of success and riches, the heartache of struggle with his own son, to final renunciation and self-knowledge.
The name "Siddhartha" is one often given to the Buddha himself—perhaps a clue to Hesse's aims in contrasting the traditional legendary figure with his own conception, as a European (Hesse was Swiss), of a spiritual explorer.
About the Author
Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) was a German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. His best-known works include Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and Magister Ludi.
Hilda Rosner is an author and translator.
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
In Siddhartha the setting is Indian and we encounter the Buddha, but the author’s ethos is still closer to Goethe.
— Washington Post Book World
One could even hope that Hesse’s readers are hungrily imbibing Siddhartha, and that they will be so wisely foolish as to live by it.
— Chicago Tribune
Hermann Hesse is the greatest writer of the century.
— San Francisco Chronicle