Vita Brevis: A Letter to St Augustine

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For the Latin phrase, see Ars longa, vita brevis.

Vita Brevis: A Letter to St Augustine (Latin: Brief Life; also published in English as That Same Flower) is a novel written by the Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder and originally published in 1996. Gaarder presents the text as written by Saint Augustine´s lover (who is mentioned, but not named, in his Confessions).


In the introduction, Gaarder claims that he found the old manuscript at a bookshop in Buenos Aires and translated it. According to his plotline, it was written by Floria Aemilia, Augustine's concubine, who after being abandoned by him, got a thorough Classical education, read his Confessions (where she is mentioned but not named, unlike their son, Adeodatus) and felt compelled to write this text as an answer.

See also[edit]


  • Gaarder, Jostein. Vita Brevis (Brief Life) (also appeared in English as That Same Flower) (1996) ISBN 0-7538-0461-1