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Siddhartha (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – Unabridged, December 23, 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

About the Author

When this German novelist, poet, and essayist publicly denounced the savagery and hatred of World War I, he was considered a traitor. He moved to Switzerland where he eventually became a naturalized citizen. He warned of the advent of World War II, predicting that cultureless efficiency would destroy the modern world. His theme is the conflict between the elements of a person's dual nature and the problem of spiritual loneliness. His first novel, Peter Camenzind, was published in 1904. His masterpiece, Death and the Lover (1930), contrasts a scholarly abbot and his beloved pupil, who leaves the monastery for the adventurous world. Steppenwolf (1927), a European bestseller, was published when defeated Germany had begun to plan for another war. It is the story of Haller, who recognizes in himself the blend of the human and wolfish traits of the completely sterile scholarly project. Hesse won the Nobel Prize in 1946. During the 1960s Hesse became a favorite writer of the counter culture, especially in the United States, though his critical reputation has never equaled his popularity. Hermann Hesse died in 1962.
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Advance Review Copy edition (December 23, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486406539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486406534
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,523 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished reading Siddhartha, and I can safely say without a shadow of a doubt, that it is now my favourite book. It's simply amazing that this was published in 1922, it is a timeless breath of simplicity and creativity. Herman Hesse was known for writing semi autobiographical novels, and this one is no exception; the character Siddhartha is even recognised for his writing ability at one stage of the novel. Siddhartha is heavily influenced by Hesse's close relationship with the great Swisse psychologist Carl Jung, and it is a treat to experience the archetypal imagery that Hesse manages to bring to life with sheer mastery. The novel reads like an old mythic tale, told with simple descriptive prose, and playful dialogue: the characters even refer to themselves in the third person! While reading Siddhartha, I couldn't help but picture the novel's world as being hand drawn, like the old drawings of the Buddha and the Hindu and Buddhist mythologies of old. The book is divided into three parts, which symbolically follow Siddhartha's birth, death, and rebirth. The Siddhartha in the novel is not related to the Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), but he exists in the same time as him, and the two cross paths in the book. Even though they are unrelated, and the story hasn't much to do with the Buddha, the novel implies that the Buddha exists everywhere and in everyone and is merely a representation of the enlightenment available to anyone, at any moment. Whether it be at the moment of physical death, sickness, wealth, sadness, or simply holding and looking at a rock, one is capable of `waking up' and seeing the inter connectedness of everything.

I won't elaborate any further on the book, I would hate to subtract any of your enjoyment out of reading it yourself, and if you haven't, I urge you to.
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Format: Paperback
I read Siddhartha for the first time for a college class I'm taking called "The Hero's Journey." (It's a class that explores Jungian ideas and the concept of the hero's journey, so I thought that this book fit right in.) I thought the story was interesting and thought-provoking and I would be interested in reading it again for myself when I'm not so pressed for time. Those interested in finding meaning their own lives may find this book similarly enlightening, as some of Hesse's ideas contain a great deal of wisdom. The text itself is short, but if you truly want to get into it, you can expect to invest a fair amount of time into it.

By buying this Dover Thrift version of the book however, I ended up buying a translation that no one else in my class had (since my professor did not specify which edition to buy). And listening to the professor read his edition of the book, I realized that the translation in this book is actually rather dry and stuffy, lacking warmth and a more conversational-like tone.

Overall, I liked this story and I would read it again, but I would choose a different translation the next time around.

~A. Brown
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For a short book, it took me weeks to get through. I could only digest a couple of pages a night! It is full of though-provoking prose that applies to many aspects of life, and I really enjoyed it.

I see myself reading this book many more times in the future, while dense it really was a pleasure to read.
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The only thing that confused me at the beginning was that Siddhartha met the Buddha. I was concerned because Siddhartha is the first name of Buddha, but after reading the intro, I understood that the protagonist was someone entirely different. After clearing that up and realizing that I was not reading about the path of Siddhartha Gautama, I finally got to let the story sink in. It is one of the most spiritual writings I've ever read, and it resided harmoniously with my own views.I learned a lot throughout the journey, but I have to say that finding peace with the river (and nature) had to be the most rewarding part.
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Excellent new translation. If you are like me, with the classics in particular (Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid, Gilgamesh, Beowulf, etc.), it is always awesome to have a new translation. Even if it doesn't work out, at least it moves things forward and refreshes interest in the timeless works.

For this text, I was surprised how well the new translation is. I love the Thrift editions and have most of them. They are really very high quality for a low price, but sometimes in order to keep costs down they use very old or clunky translations. This translation is completely new. If you are used to the "Blue Book" that is the classic for Siddhartha and you like this work by Hesse in general, I am confident you will at the very least appreciate this translation and maybe even prefer it to the "Blue Book." The translator understands Buddhism and if you also are aware of Buddhism in a non-superficial sense I believe that you will appreciate the care used in translating Siddhartha's spiritual journey as it is infused with the translator's understanding of the religious/philosophical system.

Other than that, the book cover is beautiful and the feel of the book is great. It makes you really want to consume the work. The introduction is a real intro by the new translator so it is meaningful and not just a few paragraphs of biographical material that is typical with the thrift editions. Overall, well pleased!
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