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Siddhartha Unknown Binding – 1954


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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 167 pages
  • Publisher: Owen; Vision P (1954)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0000CITIR
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)

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About the Author

Hermann Hesse was born in 1877 in Calw, Germany. He was the son and grandson of Protestant missionaries and was educated in religious schools until the age of thirteen, when he dropped out of school. At age eighteen he moved to Basel, Switzerland, to work as a bookseller and lived in Switzerland for most of his life. His early novels included Peter Camenzind (1904), Beneath the Wheel (1906), Gertrud (1910), and Rosshalde (1914). During this period Hesse married and had three sons. During World War I Hesse worked to supply German prisoners of war with reading materials and expressed his pacifist leanings in antiwar tracts and novels. Hesse's lifelong battles with depression drew him to study Freud during this period and, later, to undergo analysis with Jung. His first major literary success was the novel Demian (1919). When Hesse's first marriage ended, he moved to Montagnola, Switzerland, where he created his best-known works: Siddhartha (1922), Steppenwolf (1927), Narcissus and Goldmund (1930), Journey to the East (1932), and The Glass Bead Game (1943). Hesse won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946. He died in 1962 at the age of eighty-five. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Maria Savva on 5 Jan 2010
Format: Paperback
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.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 Jan 1999
Format: Hardcover
The message of Siddhartha is a personal one. As such, it can't be forced on someone as "required reading". Readers will either find Siddhartha inspirational because of an inherent truth they recognize relative to their own conduct in life, or boring because they find nothing personally relevant below the surface of the simple narrative. Siddhartha is wonderfully concise...if you hate it, its over quickly, and it doesn't require too much investment to revisit years later when your relationship to the story may be profoundly different.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sarakani on 28 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback
The sources of this book include classics like Nietzche's Thus Spake Zarathustra, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita and elements of Buddhism. It is the story of a quest that mirrors the quests of several Indian sages from the Buddha to countless Sadhus since. It is important to let go of preconceptions when reading this book, it is however probably more suitable to westerners who don't appreciate Indian religions that don't bear comparison with monotheistic traditions that seek salvation using one totem. Indeed, Hess seems to treat Buddhism just like another totem to be ignored given that as a religion it implies "allegiance". Taking refuge with an open mind is not the same as swearing allegiance. Everyone has to discover realisation/s for themselves. The Buddha said this. Leaving this aside, Hess is deeply sympathetic to Buddhism but prefers instead an individualistic path based on love and a simple appreciation of the world, the way many human beings come to terms with the world. It is not necessarily the path to the realisation of ultimate truth, but more coming to terms with the problems of life. I was especially touched by the descriptions of listening to the soothing river. Chapter after chapter offers various teachers and the book as a whole is about the quest and not necessarily about answers.

Philosphically the book is about independence and individualism and makes the case for a lone seeker "fare lonely as a rhinoceros" as a Buddhits text has it. This means being wary of any religion or movement and understanding the limits of concepts. Many of us do have to join groups to come to understand this and it has to be borne in mind that Siddhartha, the protagonist finds his way by forming relationships, not by being entirely alone.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 April 2000
Format: Paperback
This book was bought for me by a friend of mine, and I can never say enough thank you's for it. It is the most amazing read. Once I started it, I truely found I could not put it down, I was compelled to read it, and I will again. From the very first page, it makes you sit up and examine your own life. Do I really know who I am? Before your search of knowledge begins, do you know who you are?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Lovat on 4 Sep 2007
Format: Hardcover
Hesse's work was always concerned with spiritual quests that had a Buddhist 'feel' to them but which, in the early days, were always couched within a largely Christian framework. In Siddhartha he finally nails his own spiritual credentials to the mast as this is a novel about the Buddhist path. Hesse's other great preoccupation was with the tension between the hedonistic and the ascetic life, and this finds it's place here, too. Siddhartha, Hesse's central character, finds just as much wisdom via sensual pleasure as he does via spiritual devotion. In fact, to renounce the sensual world, perhaps one must have experienced it?

This is a book which can take multimple re-readings and certainly gives me something new and inspirational each time I read it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Jan 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought this book in 1991 but didn't read it for another eight years.
In the intervening period, I endured a huge period of depression(for various reasons)from which, after much soul searching, pain and introspection, I finally dragged myself.
It was uncanny how I identified with Siddhartha when I read the book last year. In his quest for inner peace and happiness, he tries many different routes. In the end he finds the answer in simplicity. It was obvious, really...
So forget all those self help books, read this and think. Use your brain and ask yourself some big questions. It won't 'cure' you overnight but it may help you find the sources of your unhappiness... hopefully it won't take you eight years!
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