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Siddhartha
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Author won Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946

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.

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Siddhartha's life takes him on a journey toward enlightenment. Afire with youthful idealism, the Brahmin joins a group of ascetics, fasting and living without possessions. Meeting Gotama the Buddha, he comes to feel this is not the right path, though he also declines joining the Buddha's followers. He reenters the world, hoping to learn of his own nature, but instead slips gradually into hedonism and materialism. Surfeited and disgusted, he flees from his possessions to become a ferryman's apprentice, learning what lessons he can from the river itself. Herman Hesse's 1922 Bildungsroman parallels the life of Buddha and seems to argue that lessons of this sort cannot be taught but come from one's own struggle to find truth. Noted actor Derek Jacobi interprets this material wonderfully, and the package, despite abridging a Nobel prize winner's prose, can be highly recommended.ÄJohn Hiett, Iowa City P.L.

"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 "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 "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

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