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Outline ReviewThe traditional title for St. Augustine's classic devotional work The Confessions can be misleading. Because it is a transliteration, not a translation, of the Latin title, it encourages readers to think of the work as an autobiography, when in fact it is a prayer. Saint Augustine's Childhood, Garry Wills's translation of the first book of the Confessiones renders the work in fresh language, corrects scores of misinterpretations, and explains the prayerful nature of the book's structure, style, imagery, and rhetoric. The text describes infancy and the period during which children learn to talk, seamlessly incorporating scriptural allusions that have pockmarked previous translations. The concise notes and commentary, and a crucial appendix, bring Augustine's ideas about language acquisition into dialogue with more contemporary theories, such as Noam Chomsky's. Like Wills's short biography of Augustine for the Penguin Lives series, this project is masterfully rendered, and will be appreciated equally by scholars, students, and the general reader. Wills's sophistication is leavened by an appealing lightness. He describes one Latin term as "a nice frog-croak of a word"; a period of Augustine's adolescence is "a year of mild hell-raising"; and, paraphrasing Chesterton, Wills memorably suggests that "original sin becomes easier to understand at the moment when, on a long summer's afternoon, bored children begin to torture the cat." --Michael Joseph Gross
In Garry Wills's biography of Saint Augustine for the Penguin Lives series, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author brilliantly documented the life of the great Christian thinker. His translations of passages of Saint Augustine's influential Confessiones were hailed as "sizzling" (Peter Brown, New York Review of Books). James Wood, writing for the London Review of Books declared, "Augustine flourishes in Wills's hand." Now, Wills has taken on a translation of the first of four books of the Confessiones, "Childhood."
Wills's broad-ranging and incisive discussion of the style, structure, and themes of "Childhood" brings a fresh perspective to this classic work, including the juxtaposition of Augustine's concept of childhood and the learning of language with the ideas of Noam Chomsky and current research. Beautifully designed and translated by "America's greatest living intellectual" (The American Prospect), "Childhood" will be sought after by academics, Christians, and the general reader.
Translated by Garry Wills, author of the bestselling Penguin Lives biography of Saint Augustine.
Buy Saint Augustine's Childhood: CONFESSIONES BOOK ONE (Testimony, Bk 1) by Augustine of Hippo from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780670030019 & 0670030015 upc: 051488023951
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