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Siddhartha (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Paperback – December 31, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0142437186 ISBN-10: 0142437182 Edition: d

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; d edition (December 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142437182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142437186
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) spent World War I in Switzerland. After the war and a psychological crisis, he removed himself to the small town of Montagnola, where he created his best-known works. He received many important honors, including the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946.

More About the Author

Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) was born in Germany and later became a citizen of Switzerland. As a Western man profoundly affected by the mysticism of Eastern thought, he wrote many novels, stories, and essays that bear a vital spiritual force that has captured the imagination and loyalty of many generations of readers. In 1946, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature for The Glass Bead Game.

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Customer Reviews

This book should be read, and reread, and reread...
Burak Kilic
Siddhartha learned the lessons the hard way and through his journey we then learn those same lessons and find out just how simple they really are.
Kathleen Martorano
Hesse does a remarkable job in capturing the tone, cadence and moral complexity of ancient Indian religious stories.
Kedar Deshpande

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Kedar Deshpande on January 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
Siddhartha is both a western and eastern tale. Though it was written by a westerner, it has the soul and power of an ancient eastern myth. It is at once a timeless story and one that the reader will wish to continually revisit at different phases in his or her life.

Hesse does a remarkable job in capturing the tone, cadence and moral complexity of ancient Indian religious stories. His "revisionist" take on the life of Buddha is at once fresh and familiar to anyone who has read the sermons of the Buddha or who has studied ancient Hinduism and Buddhism. The themes of self-doubt, denial, asceticism and spiritual rejuvenation are both profoundly and cleverly handled in Hesse's superb narrative. In many ways, this is a book that serves as a summation, and improvement on, all of the religious texts one has read. The fictional aspect allows Hesse to interweave common literary devices, such as heroic journeys and coming-of-age revelations, to make the text, as a whole, much stronger and more impacting than a dry sermon.

Siddhartha's narrative works as a cycle, with each chapter offering commentary on the vices and victories of mankind and the ultimate futility of the material world. Like the river that Siddhartha comes to love, the book flows, and never missteps or hesitates in reaching remarkable insights into the nature and philosophy of humanity.

This is a book that will stay with the reader for a lifetime. Its simple structure belies a greater complexity; be sure that this book leaves the reader with no easy answers, but it is sure to inspire thought and joy.

*A note on translations:
-For readability, flow and consistency, I find the Joachim Neugroschel translation to be the best of the many options.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Caraculiambro on April 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
Seriously, if you're gonna read Siddhartha, this is certainly the edition to get -- the slightly oversized Penguin Classics one.

It features a useful (35-page!) introduction by Ralph Freedman, which includes suggestions for further reading.

The translation by Joachim Neugroschel -- a new one -- also reads swiftly and naturally.

There are no footnotes for the text itself, however.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ted on October 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a book that will appeal to anyone who wonders "what it's all about." Hesse has masterfully captured the essence of a wandering soul in Siddhartha's character, someone who seeks meaning and understanding in all its forms.
This book is even more applicable to modern day society than when it was written. We are confronted with millions of choices in our lives and it can often be difficult to discern the correct path; often with respect to the materialism and consumerism that permeates American society. So, take a few hours and peruse Siddhartha...forget about the rat race and imagine life as an ascetic.
Truly a sublime book, highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Farzana T. Ali on September 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
Herman Hesse's Siddhartha poeticizes the truth-seeking endeavors of a protagonist who overthrows convention and becomes more religious. Ultimately, Siddhartha abandons Brahmin, ascetic, and materialistic pursuits. Siddhartha's eventual enlightenment, by crystalizing his conversion journey, mirrors Hesse's Western perspective - which revels in the vital role of individualism in achieving religious fulfillment. Siddhartha expresses that regardless of a person's past sins or social status, any person can have a continued personal experience or an embodied understanding of his or her role in the world. Across a Buddhist, Hindu, post-World War I, philosophically-vibrant, and Western canvas, the nearly-biographical story paints a final deeply intimate connection with an immaterial force.

Herman Hesse's Siddhartha is a portrait of a man seeking self-knowledge and in the process; he is seeking a new transcendental, universal, and spiritual framework that is communal in content and individual in conquest. Ultimately, Siddhartha's humbleness, awareness and empathy -coupled with his escape from materialistic misery- enable him to attain an enlightened lifestyle, a unity with the universe, and an entrance into a greater community of humanity. This fulfillment is the result of independent seeking and living, as well as the mastery of collective Brahmin, ascetic, and practical teachings. The story imbues the Western notion of self-teaching. Siddhartha becomes more religious, as a result of the author's introspection. Hesse's individual spiritual success creates an inspired literary piece that compels readers to attempt to either establish or appreciate a continued personal experience or an embodied understanding of his or her role in the world.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
Did you ever feel sensational beauty about every word you read? This is the book that returned me the harmony of my inner world.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Red Pineapple on December 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
Like many people, I first read Siddhartha in high school as a part of my study of Buddhism and Hinduism. It wasn't until this second reading that the book made an impression on me. Siddhartha is a young man who spends his life looking for the way to Nirvana. He begins in the forest, living a life of a samana, a wandering ascetic, begging for food and spending his days in meditation. His eventual meeting with the Buddha has an unexpected effect on him: he realizes that teachers cannot really teach him anything. Therefore, it is up to him to find his own way to salvation.

The book is short, and is made up of two parts, before the Buddha, and after the Buddha. Each chapter has a very particular meaning, and the plot is very well contained within. This adds to the story and gives it the feeling of a sacred text. Although most of the minor characters are not well-developed, it is very clear that their very existence is only to help Siddhartha on his journey. Otherwise, they are not important. Each character has something to give Siddhartha, and each adds to his understanding of the world and of himself.

This book will appeal to anyone interested in Eastern religions and philosophies, or to anyone who is themselves a spiritual pilgrim. It is very similar to Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist in its plot and feeling. It's also easy for even a reader who is not familiar with religious doctrines or language - Hesse does a beautiful job of making the spiritual and philosophical content very clear and easy to understand. However, this does not mean that it has been "dumbed down" in any way. In fact, the writing is intelligent and evocative, and the story is wholly engrossing.
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