When Wislawa Szymborska won the Nobel Prize for poetry, there was a bit of a kerfuffle about the fact that many of the prize committee did not read Polish. How can you truly know if the poetry is Nobel Prize-worthy if you can’t read the original?
I wonder about this, too. I don’t read Polish. But I find Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak’s translations wonderful.
I first read Augustine’s Confessions as a college freshman. But I’ve found myself returning to it multiple times over the years. This year, it was after listening to an intriguing lecture on how Augustine understood memory in relationship to the public spaces of the cities in which he lived his life. I’ve gone back to it as an imperfect Christian. And mostly, I’ve gone back to it as a writer of personal essays, many times, because this is the original text of someone writing about his own life in order to seek a deeper understanding of it and the world around him. Otherwise, why bother writing about yourself?
If you are interested in any of the following topics, I recommend this book: