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ConnieAnnKirk
Posts: 5,472
Registered: ‎06-14-2007
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Style over Substance?

What do you make of the following criticism leveled against SIDDHARTHA in 1952 by Frederick Morgan in the HUDSON REVIEW:

"...for all the competence of the writing and the construction, [this book] lacks both intellectual grasp and emotional truth. The style is merely decorative, "poetic" in the bad sense, lacking a real object; the book as a whole, without roots in real experience, seems to me, for all its superficial elegance, finally trivial."

Do you agree or disagree? Why?
~ConnieAnnKirk




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Inspired Wordsmith
Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Style over Substance?


ConnieK wrote:
What do you make of the following criticism leveled against SIDDHARTHA in 1952 by Frederick Morgan in the HUDSON REVIEW:

"...for all the competence of the writing and the construction, [this book] lacks both intellectual grasp and emotional truth. The style is merely decorative, "poetic" in the bad sense, lacking a real object; the book as a whole, without roots in real experience, seems to me, for all its superficial elegance, finally trivial."

Do you agree or disagree? Why?




Without taking the time to google Hesse’s critics I bet there are as many pro as contra reviews. I might look into this later but for now I would just like to say that I don’t agree with Frederick Morgan. Maybe this is because I grew up with C G Jung’s ideas of individuation.

Morgan says: …the “Truth” finally attained is usually found to reside in the blurred, orientally-inspired pseudo-mysticism of “acceptance” and “affirmation” so dear to our Jungians and other fuzzy thinkers.”

I think Hesse worked for a little over two years on Siddhartha. His life at that point was a shambles; and since he identified with his hero he had to suspend writing until he could think more clearly. When Morgan charges that Siddhartha “lacks both intellectual grasp and emotional truth,” he is wrong. Hesse knew that he could not solve Siddhartha’s problems (and his own) without going into analysis. He understood that his knowledge of theories would not be enough, that he had to confront his own unresolved conflicts. That he was able to show individuation in this poetic form is amazing to me.

I’m sure there are some flaws in his portrayal of facts surrounding his hero; this might be because of limited knowledge and understanding of India and its philosophical models at that time (Siddhartha came out in 1922) but I think that his understanding of the “hero’s journey” was solid. I don't think that the book is trivial at all,the subject is clear to me. I consider what Morgan calls "superficial elegance" to be a style of writing that borders on preaching. An old style, almost allegorical. And yes, elegant.
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Jackjoy
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Style over Substance?

I like the book...I disagree. I typically read non-fiction for personally find it hard to stay interested in a book of fiction. This book, "Siddhartha" has been the exception. :smileyhappy:
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ConnieAnnKirk
Posts: 5,472
Registered: ‎06-14-2007
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Re: Style over Substance?

Welcome, Jackjoy--What was it that you especially liked about the book?

~ConnieK



Jackjoy wrote:
I like the book...I disagree. I typically read non-fiction for personally find it hard to stay interested in a book of fiction. This book, "Siddhartha" has been the exception. :smileyhappy:


~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
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