Siddhartha, a story based on the early life of Gautama Buddha, is concerned with the human search for self-knowledge and authentic spirituality. Hesse had written the first part of the book easily enough, but had to stop for a year with depression, before completing it in 1922.
The book is a synthesis of Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist and Christian thought, although Hesse rejected all conventional religion for a more individual and personal path. As he wrote: The only thing of importance to me is being able to love the world, without looking down on it, without hating it and myself being able to regard it and myself and all beings with love, admiration and reverence.
About the author
Herman Hesse, the German-Swiss poet, novelist and painter, was born in 1877 in Calw, Germany. His parents were Christian missionaries, with interests in book publishing, and young Herman grew up in a world of theological discussion. Through his grandfather, who had worked in India as a missionary, he also possessed a keen awareness of Eastern philosophy and spirituality.
Hesse became popular for his spiritual writing in the American counter-culture scene of the 1960s, and since his death in 1962 he has been one of the best-selling German writers in the world.
Publisher: White Crow Books
Published January 2010
Duration: 5h 26m