These writings, for the most part composed in the villa of Cassisiacum, from his conversion to his baptism (388-387), continue the autobiography of the saint by initiating us into the researches and Platonic hesitations of his mind. There is less freedom in them than in the Confessions. They are literary essays, writings whose simplicity is the acme of art and elegance. Nowhere is the style of Augustine so chastened, nowhere is his language so pure. Their dialogueform shows that they were inspired by Plate and Cicero. The chief ones are:
- Contra Academicos (the most important of all);
- De Beatâ Vitâ;
- De Ordine;
- the two books of Soliloquies, which must be distinguished from the “Soliloquies” and “Meditations” which are certainly not authentic;
- De Immortalitate animæ;
- De Magistro (a dialogue between Augustine and his son Adeodatus); and
- six curious books (the sixth especially) on Music.