"Siddhartha" is a novel published in 1922 and written by the German writer Herman Hesse. The novel was originally written in German but then released in an English translation in 1951. "Siddhartha" was written after Hesse took a … [Read more...] about Siddhartha
Hermann Hesse was a German-born Swiss novelist and poet. His work was popular with the younger readers after World War II who identified with the main theme of many of his novels: the trails of youth - and especially of creative artists - in search of self.
Hesse was born n July 2nd, 1877 in Calw, Germany. The son of a former missionary, he was enrolled in a seminary but soon left school. Thereafter he educated himself through reading. As a young man, he worked for a bookseller and did freelance journalism, which inspired his first novel 'Peter Camenzind' (1904), the story of a dissolute writer.
During World War I, Hesse, who was a pacifist, moved to Montagnola, Switzerland. He became a Swiss citizen in 1923. His despair and disillusion with the war and by a series of personal tragedies caused his writing to become more focused on the spiritual search for new goals and values as seen in his next novels "Demian" (1919), "Siddhartha" (1922) and "Journey to the East" (1923) all of which are deeply symbolic and psychoanalytical in nature.
Hesse's next novel, "Steppenwolf" (1927) is perhaps the most innovative of all of his works. In the book, the artist and heroes double nature - human and wolf-like - force him into a labyrinth of nightmarish experiences. The work symbolizes the split between individuality and convention.
Hesse viewed the rise of Nazism in Germany with disgust and worked against Hitler's domination in his own way. He had publicly announced his opposition to Anti-Semitism many times before and married a Jewish woman. However, at no time did he openly speak against the Nazi party as he considered himself mostly detached from politics.
Hesse's last novel, "Magister Ludi" (1943) set in a utopian future, is in effect a resolution of the author's concerns. Several volumes of his nostalgic, mournful poetry have also been published.
Hesse won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946. In the last few years of his life, he enjoyed writing short stories and painting watercolors.
Hesse died in Switzerland in 1962 at the age of 85 and was buried in San Abbondio cemetery in Montagnola, Switzerland.