Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius De Consalatione Philosophiae

Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius De Consalatione Philosophiae

Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius De Consalatione Philosophiae Historical Backdrop (~475-525) Unsteady Roman Empire divided between the East (Constantinople) and West (Ravenna) Theodorics worsening position (Acacian Schism resolved 519) leader of a pro-imperial, pro-Byzantine group,

victimized by an increasingly insecure kinga Catholic put to death by Arians (Christian martyr) victim of lower-level rivalriesdisliked because of his idealistic stand against corruption Literary/Philosophical Antecedents Crossroads of the classical and medieval worlds: harmony of Platonic philosophy with Aristotelian method. Midway between Seneca and Aquinas

Last of the Romans: first of the Scholastics Job, Psalms, Pauline theology Genre Consolatio (Senecas moral medication) Confessio (Augustine) Pedagogic dialogue (Plato) Theodicyjustify the ways of God to men (Milton) Poetry/Prose

The Wheel of Fortune I reign I shall reign I have reigned I am without a kingdom One of the most widely copied books of the Middle Ages 1385 Italian manuscript of The

Consolation of Philosophy The number of surviving manuscripts suggests that it was one of the first books printed by Translation/Imitation King Alfred (849-899) Translates Latin into Old English for the education and enjoyment of his

Anglo-Saxon subjects Prose translation serves as basis for his Lays of Boethius Alfred introduces Christian themes (Christ, angels, Satan; Lady Philosophy becomes Wisdom) Translators/Commentators Nicholas Trevet (1265-1335) extensive commentary on Alfreds translation

Jean de Meun (1250-1305) translates into Old French. Li Livres de confort proliferation of versions in France (14th-15th century) Both Trevet and de Meun influence Chaucers Boece (~1380) John Waltons verse translation (1410) ottave rima and rhyme royal Dante

Boethius numbered among the twelve lights in the heaven of the sun, calling him That joy who strips the worlds hypocrisies Bare to whoever heeds his cogent phrases: (Paradise, X) Finds consolation in Boethiuss words after death of Beatrice Beatrice modeled after Lady Philosophy

Narrative structureascent of the soul to the contemplation of the mind of God. Literary Afterlife Queen Elizabeth I (1593) was reputed to have completed her version in 24-27 hours when she was 16 years old (half an hour per page)

Dictated the prose to an amanuensis, but wrote the prose herself with sorrows note the wavering trees he moved Chaucers Boethian echoes TemporalityWhat endures? Instability of love, chance, fate, destiny Soul on pilgrimage The Former Age, Lak of Stedfastness,

Truth Troilus and Criseyde, Parliament of Fowls Knights Tale, Clerks Tale, Franklins Tale, Parsons Tale, Tale of Melibee, Man of Laws Tale, Nuns Priests Tale, Wife of Baths Tale, Monks Tale Chaucers Interest in Boethius? Jean De Meuns extended Roman de la rose: student-teacher relationship (dreamerGod of Love, Reason, and Nature) Anyone who thinks that his native land is here is very

much a slave and a nave fool. Your native land is not on earth, as you can learn from the clerks who lecture on Boethiuss Consolation and the ideas in it. If someone were to translate it for the laity he would do them a great favor. Dante comments in his Convivio that the [Consolation] is not known to many. Chaucers Boece: critical evaluation criticized for inaccuracies and ungraceful prose he has attempted nothing higher than a version strictly literal, and has degraded the poetical parts to prose, that the constraint of versification

might not obstruct his zeal for fidelity (Samuel Johnson) renders Boethius for English readers (extensive glosses implies audience with little or no Latin) Further Questions To acquire a taste for it is almost to become naturalised in the middle ages. (C.S. Lewis) What accounts for the books popularity throughout the Middle Ages?

Did Boethius make Chaucer a philosophical poet? Why is the absence of an explicitly Christian theology? What is the difference between a philosophical reflection and theological reflection? Sources: Boethius. The Consolation of Philosophy. translated by David

Slavitt. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2008 Boethius. The Consolation of Philosophy. translated by V. E. Watts. London: Penguin, 1969. Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy. translated by Patrick Gerard Walsh. New York: Oxford UP, 2000. Boitani, Piero and Jill Mann, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Chaucer. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003.

Champe, Gertrud Graubart. Boethius in Encyclopedia of Literary Translation into English. Vol. 1. ed. Olive Classe. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000. Gray, Douglas ed. The Oxford Companion to Chaucer. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2003. Hannah, Ralph and Traugott Lawler. Boece. The Riverside Chaucer. 3rd ed. ed. Larry Benson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1987. Marenbon, John. Boethius. New York: Oxford UP, 2003. Pryor, Felix. Elizabeth I: Her Life in Letters. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.

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