Hermann Hesse's classic novel "Siddhartha" has delighted, inspired, and influenced generations of readers, writers, and thinkers. Though set in a place and time far removed from the Germany of 1922, the year of the book's debut, the novel is infused with the sensibilities of Hesse's time, synthesizing disparate philosophies-Eastern religions, Jungian archetypes, Western individualism-into a unique vision of life as expressed through one man's search for meaning.
It is the story of the quest of Siddhartha, a wealthy Indian Brahmin who casts off a life of privilege and comfort to seek spiritual fulfillment and wisdom. On his journey, Siddhartha encounters wandering ascetics, Buddhist monks, and successful merchants, as well as a courtesan named Kamala and a simple ferryman who has attained enlightenment. Traveling among these people and experiencing life's vital passages-love, work, friendship, and fatherhood-Siddhartha discovers that true knowledge is guided from within.
Susan Bernofsky's magnificent new translation brings out Hesse's inspired lyricism and his elegant, melodious cadences, illuminating the novel's universal themes and timeless wisdom about the human condition.
This original Modern Library edition includes a lively new Introduction by Tom Robbins and a glossary of Indian terms.
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.
Susan Bernofsky is the acclaimed translator of Hermann Hesse, Robert Walser, and Jenny Erpenbeck, and the recipient of many awards, including the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize and the Hermann Hesse Translation Prize. She teaches literary translation at Columbia University and lives in New York.
Tom Robbins was born in North Carolina in 1932 and raised in Virginia. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, he moved to Seattle to do graduate work at the University of Washington. His internationally bestselling works include Still Life With Woodpecker, Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates, Jitterbug Perfume, Skinny Legs and All, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas, Villa Incognito, and B Is For Beer. Robbins lives with his wife, Alexa D'Avalon, and their dog, Blini Tomato Titanium, in Washington State.