The Soliloquies of St. Augustine are a philosophical dialogue between Augustine’s mind and his faculty of reason concerning the nature of God and the immortality of the soul. The Soliloquies was translated into Old English in the late ninth century as part of King Alfred of Wessex’s (r. 871-899) program to revive learning and literacy in his kingdom. This volume contains complete texts of the Latin and Old English Soliloquies, as well as original, facing-page translations of both.
Leslie Lockett’s elegant, readable, and accurate translation of the Latin text compares favorably to previous editions. Moreover, her clear rendition of the Old English will assist non-experts in that language to work their way through the original text, whose difficulty is amplified by the fact that it contains features characteristic of early Middle English that were introduced by the scribe. Lockett’s skill as a translator in both languages is impressive indeed, and I could not find any scope for improvement. Having the Latin and Old English versions (accompanied by accurate and idiomatic translations) together in the same volume makes cross comparison possible in a way that has not previously been the case, and this work will prove a boon both to scholars and students of Old English literature.
Bryn Mawr Classical Review
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