A Soul Searcher’s Handbook: Hesse’s Siddhartha

A Soul Searcher’s Handbook: Hesse’s Siddhartha

Searching for the meaning of life and love seems to be a popular theme of philosophical novels. And, Hesse’s Siddhartha (1922) is no different from these. Winning the Nobel Prize for literature in 1946, Hermann Hesse is an explicitly holistic and dialectical writer who repeatedly in his novels depicts the struggle for self-awareness in the lives of his characters. Through them he reaffirms the values of love, beauty, and integrity in the face of a world increasingly dominated by acquisitive and competitive norms. As a dialectician he conceived of self-discovery as 'wholeness' arrived at through a process of necessary struggle, identifying the positive in the negative and constantly questioning conventional notions of progress and achievement (Ziolkowski, 1973).
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