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Boethius's De Consolatione Philosophiae and the Lamentatio/Consolatio Tradition
Medieval English Studies (2001)
  • Philip Edward Phillips, Middle Tennessee State University

While some critics argue that Boethius's De Consolatione Philosophiae participates in the tradition of Menippean satire, this paper maintains that Boethius's masterpiece is primarily a consolation that employs topics of the lamentatio/consolatio tradition in order to dramatize the fallen narrator's educational journey from despair to hope, a journey facilitated by Lady Philosophy, who assumes the significant roles of Socratic teacher and spiritual physician. The paper argues, furthermore, that the Consolation is not a bitter, satirical work but rather a work of philosophical optimism whose consolation, both for the grieving narrator and for the reader, is based upon the premise that the universe is governed by eternal reason, a belief initially “forgotten” by the narrator but eventually restored through the application of Lady Philosophy's “gentler” and “stronger” remedies.

  • Boethius,
  • De consolatione philosphiae,
  • lamentatio,
  • consolatio
Publication Date
Citation Information
Philip Edward Phillips. "Boethius's De Consolatione Philosophiae and the Lamentatio/Consolatio Tradition" Medieval English Studies Vol. 9 Iss. 1 (2001)
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