The major portion of St. Augustine’s literary output listed, accounted for, and criticized by the author himself such is the work here published in English translation for the first time. As the aged Augustine reread his extensive production, he sought to identify and to report to his widely scattered readership anything in his writings that had offended him or might offend others. In achieving this purpose, Augustine brought out a book scarcely to be matched in world literature.
Happily, it was toward the end of his life that the busy Bishop of Hippo set to this review; thus, but few of his “books” fail here to receive his searching self-criticism. His letters and sermons are in general not dealt with; they were to be covered in further parts of the Retractations that Augustine did not live to achieve.
The extensive notes that the translator furnishes supply the background to Augustine’s own discussion of each one of his 93 books, and both analyze and synthesize the bishop’s large and wide-ranging production.