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