Sunday, November 9, 2008

The inconquerable work

I have been trying for about the past 2 years to read Augustine's "Confessions." That doesn't mean I don't like it. Some of the best works are best read a bit at a time and savored. Sometimes I take that approach to reading the Bible. ;)

But I don't know why Augustine is such a struggle. I open a chapter, start reading, and the topic seems interesting, the words compelling...yet I can only manage about a page (if that) before I either get totally lost or fall asleep.

Maybe part of the problem is the translation. Though Latin, by definition, is made up of complex sentences in which you forget the beginning by the time you get to the end. In my opinion. It would be hard to preserve that in another language.

I can't remember how the topic came up, but I was explaining this problem to my roommate. I brought in "Confessions" to show her, and she began to read out loud. She's a non-native speaker, I might add. And as she read, I suddenly began to understand what the text was about. She put the pauses and emphases in all the right places, so that it sounded like someone telling a long story to someone else (which is the point of "Confessions," the author telling a long story about his own life). I was amazed.

So maybe the key to "Confessions" is to read it out loud. Or to listen to someone else. I made a prediction that all available recordings are probably done in a stuffy British accent (no offense to anyone British, but for some reason the languages of the Ancients are often dramatized with the help of a British accent). So far this prediction has rung true in the samples I've found online.

I haven't found a full version online, except for an offer that expired in August. I'm not sure if I want to download a whole book, but I thought I might be able to find it in parts or a streaming version like they have for the Bible. Any ideas?


  1. Занятно, только что прочитал работу, где автор призывает читать книги вслух. :)
    Думаю, нужно скачать аудиоверсию книги и слушать. Потом понравившиеся отрывки перечитывать.

  2. Да, удивительно, что читать вслух помогает. Обычно я не запоминаю если только слушаю.

    А насчет аудиоверсии, я не нашла хороший вариант.

  3. Есть вариант на русском. Не знаю подойдет ли тебе:

  4. Oh, my goodness! I LOVE St. Augustine! It is like a story. I never even thought about the translation. Maybe it takes having had a dissolute lifestyle to really "get into" the Confessions.


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