October 19, 2018 - William Irwin, the Herve A. LeBlanc Distinguished Service Professor and chair of the philosophy department at King’s College, recently published his second novel, a sequel to Siddhartha, a book written by Nobel Prize-winning author Hermann Hesse almost 100 years ago.
In Hesse’s novel, Siddhartha leaves his father’s home during the time of Buddha searching for spiritual enlightenment. In Little Siddhartha: A Sequel, the son of the original character is a wealthy merchant with little concern for spiritual things. His son, however, relates more to wandering monks and that interest leads him to a connection with his grandfather.
The theme of both Hesse’s original novel and Irwin’s sequel is that everyone must follow a unique path toward wisdom. The constants, though, of love, forgiveness, family, and nature provide the enduring backdrop to the journey.
Irwin has used the original novel, which was published in Europe in 1922 and in the United States in the 1950s, as part of an Eastern philosophy course that he has taught since he joined King’s in 1996. He teaches courses on aesthetics, Eastern philosophy, existentialism and phenomenology.
Irwin is series editor of “The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series,” former series editor of Open Court’s “Popular Culture and Philosophy” series, and the author of numerous articles on popular cultural topics.