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Augustine, autobiography


Augustine, it seems, ends the Confessions twice: the first time neatly at the conclusion of Book 9; the second, problematically, at the end of Book 13. The first ending is an autobiographical ending, but what of the second? The structural and generic unity of the Confessions is a vexed issue, even though its coherence of theme is increasingly recognized. If the work is unified, is it unified as autobiography? If (as I argue) Augustine had come to find the conversion paradigm of his first ending to be unsatisfactory and had exploded it by adopting a new and dangerous strategy in Book 10, he had now launched himself into a precarious openendedness. He must find a new ending.