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Siddartha by Hermann Hesse

 
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jun, 2005 08:50 pm
extra medium wrote:
I must read that. Got halfway through and something interfered.

What would you say you liked best about it?


Hesse also wrote excellent poems.
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Mills75
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jun, 2005 09:56 pm
5 pages in as many hours! Didn't I tell you people I'm on vacation?

It is interesting that the summary sounds like Twain. He frequently uses the river as a symbol of freedom or the path to freedom whereas Hesse used it as the threshold/symbol of enlightenment...a lot of people would argue that freedom goes hand-in-hand with enlightenment.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Jun, 2005 01:00 am
CalamityJane wrote:


Hesse also wrote excellent poems.


That's the only stuff I liked about Hesse, and later the music by Sparrow , ehem Steppenwolf :wink:

At Night On The High Seas

At night, when the sea cradles me
And the pale star gleam
Lies down on its broad waves,
Then I free myself wholly
From all activity and all the love
And stand silent and breathe purely,
Alone, alone cradled by the sea
That lies there, cold and silent, with a thousand lights.
Then I have to think of my friends
And my gaze sinks into their gazes
And I ask each one, silent, alone:
"Are you still mine"
Is my sorrow a sorrow to you, my death a death?
Do you feel from my love, my grief,
Just a breath, just an echo?"
And the sea peacefully gazes back, silent,
And smiles: no.
And no greeting and now answer comes from anywhere.



Nachts auf hoher See
Nachts, wenn das Meer mich wiegt
Und bleicher Sternenglanz
Auf seinen weiten Wellen liegt,
Dann löse ich mich ganz
Von allem Tun und aller Liebe los
Und stehe still und atme bloß
Allein, allein vom Meer gewiegt,
Das still und kalt mit tausend Lichtern liegt.

Dann muss ich meiner Freunde denken
Und meinen Blick in ihre Blicke senken,
Und frage jeden still allein:
"Bist du noch mein?
Ist dir mein Leid ein Leid, mein Tod ein Tod?
Fühlst du von meiner Liebe, meiner Not
Nur einen Hauch, nur einen Widerhall?"

Und ruhig blickt und schweigt das Meer
Und lächelt: Nein.
Und nirgendwo kommt Gruß und Antwort her.

Hermann Hesse
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Pantalones
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Jun, 2005 01:55 am
extra medium wrote:
Question: Do you think that a person can be on a spiritual journey, and part of that journey is to spend some years with a high class call girl (or guy, if they are a female)? To the point that they'd need to leave a Buddha figure to go do that?


Yes. A spiritual journey is, in a way, a road to one's self, to autodiscovery. Siddhartha learns valuable lessons while being with Kamala, he experiences human passions and vices embracing (maybe not knowingly) this life, this contrasts with what he had learnt as a saman (samana?).

On a personal side, I always felt that in order to know myself I must engage in some sort of autodestruction practice at some point in my life and bounce back in order to live a round life. There are lots of ways to get there, not necesarrily a courtesan or a prostitute.

Will get back to topic.
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extra medium
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Jun, 2005 10:34 pm
CJ,

Yes, his poems are just out there.
A Question I was meaning to ask you: You probably read his works in German? Did you read any of it in English also? Do you feel it comes off differently between the English and the German? Is something lost in the English translation? I always wondered about that. Sometimes I'd be particularly blown away by some of his stuff, then I'd think "Wow, and this is just some translator's interpretation. I mean, the German must be even more pristine."

JoeFX, Interesting. Yes, looking forward to your comments on that.
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extra medium
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Jun, 2005 10:38 pm
What are your favorite Hesse works? Anyone care to list?

Mine are, in no particular order:

Demian
Steppenwolf
Siddartha
Journey to the East
Poems

I defy anyone to read the above and come out the same person they started as. Of course, the same could be said of watching a TV commercial I suppose. But relatively moreso, above.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 12:14 am
Although you didn't address the question to me, extra medium, I've read them in German (at first, and in school) and English (at school as well, but naturally later).

Might be, there weren't so many (good) translations out those days in last centuryy. Might be, as a youngster, you have different opinions than later.

Nevertheless, today, the translations seem to better than before - in my, today's opinion.
However, there's always a lot which goes lost - especially the "sound" of a poem. (That, however, might just be my expression of a native German speaker [... and ex-sailor, re my quoted poem above].)
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extra medium
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 12:19 am
WH,

Interesting. Thanks for that.

Yes I did notice that my tastes in Hesse material changed greatly over the years. Stuff I liked as a teen I didn't like so much as an adult, and vice-versa.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 12:30 am
Just remembering that we read Hesse at school in English was due to the fact that 'Steppenwolf' only became famous in those days (1967/8).
[On the other hand, my oral examination in German for the Abitur (that's the university entrance qualification you get in the final year at the Gymnasium = high school) was discussing the differences of advertisements in the USA and Germany Laughing ]
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extra medium
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 12:53 am
I'll be darned.

I heard that when Steppenwolf and other Hesse works came out, many in the establishment of the time thought that these works would "ruin" the youth if they were exposed to them.

Now many of same are required reading in schools. Smile
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 01:12 am
Well, Hesse (always) was an author, which was examined in 'German' at school. (And we do have some of his works in earlier 20th century bookclub editions.)
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Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 05:06 am
I have mentioned this book in many earlier posts. Siddharta is a purely magnificent book, and I do not think I am alone in that it opened my eyes and soothed my soul. The book is less than 150 pages in pocket format, yet it contains more wisdom than many a tedious brick.

After reading it time and again I started thinking of my perception as communication. When I see a tree it is in a way the tree that is telling me about it. It tells me what kind it is, and if I just listen to it it will tell me many things. The newest bit of information I heard someone learned from a tree, an oak this time, was that every single day a full grown oak releases approx. 7000 liters of water into the air. We've come to this knowledge by studying trees, so in a way the trees told us.

There is magic in the world when I see it this way. I am a magician, and there is nothing that cannot be known to me. Not to anyone who knows where and how to ask. Smile
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CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 09:01 am
Nicely said Cyracruz.

Yes, extra medium, just like Walter said, some things are
lost in a translation and it is always recommended to read
a classic in its native language, however with todays tools
one can get very sophisticated translations.

I read Siddharta in German and English and although
it has more familiarity for me in German, the English version
is very good as well. I read Steppenwolf in German, but
didn't really care for it. I guess it's one of these books where
men can relate to it a lot better than women.

As for the poems (Walter, I love Hesse poems) there seems
to be a lot more lost in translations, which is so unfortunate.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 12:59 pm
CalamityJane wrote:

As for the poems (Walter, I love Hesse poems) there seems
to be a lot more lost in translations, which is so unfortunate.


That's perhaps the reason, why the best translation of e.g. English poetry to German were done by German poets - Shakespeare by Schlegel, for instance. :wink:
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