This long-awaited translation of Confessions, which Stephen Greenblatt describes as central to the legacy of Adam and Eve, enlivens the beguiling world of late antiquity.
No modern, well-versed literature lover can call her education complete without having listened to Augustine’s Confessions. One of the most original works of world literature, it is the first autobiography ever written, influencing writers from Montaigne to Rousseau, Virginia Woolf to Gertrude Stein - and most recently informing Stephen Greenblatt’s provocative thesis about one of our foundational mythologies in The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve. It is here that we learn how one of the greatest saints in Christendom overcame a wild and reckless past, complete with a rambunctious posse of friends, an overly doting mother, and an affair that produced a “bastard” child.
Yet English translators have long emphasized the ecclesiastical virtues of Augustine’s masterpiece, often at the expense of its passion and literary vigor. Restoring the lyricism of Augustine’s original language, Peter Constantine offers a masterful and elegant rendering of Confessions in what will be a classic for decades to come.
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- William Powers
SERIOUS Problems in the Constantine work
I expected considerably more from the Audible version of Augustine's 'Confessions' was able to deliver, especially since this was my first experience within the audible genre--if that's the right term. The Content, Augustine's actual work, is of course terrific--but the Form in which it gets to the reader is awful.
One problem is caused by the frequent interruptions with the reading of the text. Book 1 for instance has 20 Chapters, and 31 Paragraphs--and the narrator/reader stops after every paragraph (that's 31 interruptions in about an hour) to announce the 'progress' of the classic. There can't be a rhythm to the reading with in onslaught of trivial information.
A more serious problem lies in the monotonous delivery of Augustine's marvelous work. The Narrator of the Confessions sounds the same whether he is recounting his time as an infant, a boy, a teenager, young adult, mature male--you get the idea. There are no inflections in the narrator's voice regardless of the rise and fall of emotions in the story.
I checked a sample of the R.S. Pine-Coffin (quite a name!) translation and it was excellent--the range of voices made me even more aware of the importance of the Narrator/Reader is going to be in Audible listening--that I'm going to continue with despite a weak performance here.
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