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Siddhartha

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Siddhartha.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Hermann Hesse(Author)

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In the novel, Siddhartha, a young man, leaves his family for a contemplative life, then, restless, discards it for one of the flesh. He conceives a son, but bored and sickened by lust and greed, moves on again. Near despair, Siddhartha comes to a river where he hears a unique sound. This sound signals the true beginning of his life -- the beginning of suffering, rejection, peace, and, finally, wisdom.
--This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.

In the shade of a banyan tree, a grizzled ferryman sits listening to the river. Some say he's a sage. He was once a wandering shramana and, briefly, like thousands of others, he followed Gotama the Buddha, enraptured by his sermons. But this man, Siddhartha, was not a follower of any but his own soul. Born the son of a Brahmin, Siddhartha was blessed in appearance, intelligence, and charisma. In order to find meaning in life, he discarded his promising future for the life of a wandering ascetic. Still, true happiness evaded him. Then a life of pleasure and titillation merely eroded away his spiritual gains until he was just like all the other "child people," dragged around by his desires. Like Hermann Hesse's other creations of struggling young men, Siddhartha has a good dose of European angst and stubborn individualism. His final epiphany challenges both the Buddhist and the Hindu ideals of enlightenment. Neither a practitioner nor a devotee, neither meditating nor reciting, Siddhartha comes to blend in with the world, resonating with the rhythms of nature, bending the reader's ear down to hear answers from the river. In this translation Sherab Chodzin Kohn captures the slow, spare lyricism of Siddhartha's search, putting her version on par with Hilda Rosner's standard edition. --Brian Bruya --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition. 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.AJohn Hiett, Iowa City P.L.Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.

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Book details

  • PDF | 102 pages
  • Hermann Hesse(Author)
  • Simon & Brown (November 22, 2010)
  • English
  • 7
  • Literature & Fiction

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Review Text

  • By Knut Hamsun on October 19, 2010

    One symptom of the Myth of Progress is the belief that any new translation is automatically better than an older one. Publishers thrive thanks to this myth, enabling them to come out with a "new" translation every five years or five minutes, as circumstances permit. This Bernofsky translation, utterly unnecessary, exists thanks to that myth and to the publisher's greed, and should be avoided.Why should it be avoided? Is it at least as good as the existing Rosner translation? No.Pedants will tell you that the Rosner translation is full of "errors". This is because they don't know what a translation is supposed to accomplish. A pedantic review over on the better Rosner translation's page claims that Rosner makes a mistake in the first sentence: instead of "sallow wood" it should read "forest of sal trees". The review neglects to realize that "sallow", besides meaning yellow or jaundiced, can also refer to a type of tree.But even taken as an error -- it is a minor thing compared to the nauseating, misfiring sentences produced in Bernofksy's version. A translation should match the pace and the tenor of the original. Bernosky's English instead is frequently a morass. Rosner's translation has a clear rhythm and a comprehensible meaning like the original. Bernofsky almost always opts for the figurative and the weak, while Rosner goes for the direct -- like the original. Take one case from the German:"Sonne bräunte seine lichten Schultern am Flußufer [...]"Rosner has: "The sun browned his slender shoulders on the riverbank [...]"Bernofsky has instead: "Sunlight darkened his fair shoulders on the riverbank [...]"Ever had the sun "darken" your shoulders? How about brown or tan. "Darken"?The same charge -- that a translation is "full of errors" -- is levelled at all the best translations, translations that succeed at conveying the original's overall effect. Bly's "Hunger", Kaufmann's Nietzsche, etc. are all accused of having "errors" that are always pedantic and minor. It is because they are *too* good. And publishers want a reason to publish new editions, and academics want to get lost in the minutiae, so these new translations come out that are full of "nuance" -- only when a non-native speaker is comparing it to the original and doing ad hoc translating.This translation, for being water that seems to just drip through the fingers, makes me want to go back and evaluate her translations of Walser.

  • By Delawanna on August 25, 2010

    A pox on every English department and English Instructor that pushed this book on me every year in High School and in College and withheld GK Chesterton from me only to discover him years after my academic career ended. A POX ON ALL OF YOU!!!!

  • By LeeHoFooks on July 30, 2011

    Siddhartha, a young Brahmin in India, is dissatisfied with his life, and he leaves his village to find enlightenment. He attempts to become enlightened first as a wandering ascetic, then by meeting with the Gotama Buddha (who himself has become truly enlightened). When he is disappointed with what the Gotama can (or can't) teach him, he wanders off again. He settles down with a courtesan, becomes a wealthy merchant, and lives a life of hedonistic pleasure for many years. When the shallowness of this existence occurs to him, he abruptly walks away from this lifestyle, once again in search of enlightenment. In the end, as an old man, Siddhartha does find the enlightenment he sought for so long -- not through asceticism, hedonism, or by listening to a Buddha, but by living a humble, simple life and combining the teachings of wise men and nature.I dislike this book for two reasons:First, even after reading this book all about enlightenment, I'm not quite sure what the word means. It's never really explained. It's spoken about as if it's the 3D image in one of those "Magic Eye" books. (Just look at it from several angles and distances. You'll eventually get it.)I'm reminded of the plot devices Alfred Hitchcock referred to as "MacGuffins." The term stems from an old joke: (Two men are on a train.) Man #1: What's in that box? Man #2: Oh, that's a MacGuffin. Man #1: What's a MacGuffin? Man #2: It's a device for trapping lions on the Scottish Highlands. Man #1: There are no lions on the Scottish Highlands. Man #2: Well then that's no MacGuffin!The point is that a MacGuffin is a thing that really has no meaning or value in and of itself. In spy movies, papers or a computer chip are a MacGuffin. In "Pulp Fiction," the brief case is a MacGuffin. In "Siddhartha," enlightenment is a MacGuffin. It's a fine plot element for a story about spies, a treasure hunt, or a jewel heist, but it gives this book about spiritualism a hollow feel.Second, Siddhartha is incredibly selfish. He abandons his family, he abandons his friend, he abandons his wife, and during all this alleged soul-searching he never seems to reflect on how he may have hurt many people. Towards the end of the book, he finds out that he has a son. When his son (who is still a child) rejects him and runs off into the woods, Siddhartha simply lets him go to fend for himself.I'm not quite sure what enlightenment is, but if it's narcissism and a complete disregard for people who care for you, I don't want it.


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