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The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini

The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini by Benvenuto Cellini
By: ((1500-1571))

Cellini’s autobiographical memoirs, which he began writing in Florence in 1558, give a detailed account of his singular career, as well as his loves, hatreds, passions, and delights, written in an energetic, direct, and racy style. They show a great self-regard and self-assertion, sometimes running into extravagances which are impossible to credit. He even writes in a complacent way of how he contemplated his murders before carrying them out. He writes of his time in Paris:

Parts of his tale recount some extraordinary events and phenomena; such as his stories of conjuring up a legion of devils in the Colosseum, after one of his not innumerous mistresses had been spirited away from him by her mother; of the marvelous halo of light which he found surrounding his head at dawn and twilight after his Roman imprisonment, and his supernatural visions and angelic protection during that adversity; and of his being poisoned on two separate occasions.

The autobiography is a classic, and commonly regarded as one of the most colourful; it is certainly the most important autobiography from the Renaissance.

Cellini’s autobiography is one of the books Tom Sawyer mentions as inspiration while freeing Jim in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

First Page:

This etext was produced by Norman Wolcott.

Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini

[Redactor’s Note: This version of the Autobiography, one of the most famous of all time, was translated by John Addington Symonds (1840 1893). Cellini lived from 1500 1571. This version is in ISO Latin1 with 8 bit accents, and is also supplied in a single file HTML version.]

The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini

Translated By John Addington Symonds

With Introduction and Notes Volume 31

Introductory Sonnet

THIS tale of my sore troubled life I write, To thank the God of nature, who conveyed My soul to me, and with such care hath stayed That divers noble deeds I’ve brought to light. ‘Twas He subdued my cruel fortune’s spite: Life glory virtue measureless hath made Such grace worth beauty be through me displayed That few can rival, none surpass me quite... Continue reading book >>


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