The Consolation of Philosophy: Revised Edition

Overview

Boethius was an eminent public figure under the Gothic emperor Theodoric, and an exceptional Greek scholar. When he became involved in a conspiracy and was imprisoned in Pavia, it was to the Greek philosophers that he turned. THE CONSOLATION was written in the period leading up to his brutal execution. It is a dialogue of alternating prose and verse between the ailing prisoner and his 'nurse' Philosophy. Her instruction on the nature of fortune and happiness, good and evil, fate and free will, restore his health ...

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Overview

Boethius was an eminent public figure under the Gothic emperor Theodoric, and an exceptional Greek scholar. When he became involved in a conspiracy and was imprisoned in Pavia, it was to the Greek philosophers that he turned. THE CONSOLATION was written in the period leading up to his brutal execution. It is a dialogue of alternating prose and verse between the ailing prisoner and his 'nurse' Philosophy. Her instruction on the nature of fortune and happiness, good and evil, fate and free will, restore his health and bring him to enlightenment. THE CONSOLATION was extremely popular throughout medieval Europe and his ideas were influential on the thought of Chaucer and Dante.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Slavitt, a poet and translator of over 80 works of fiction, poetry, and drama, presents a new translation of this philosophical classic directed at general readers. Written under the threat of Boethius's impending execution, the work comes on the cusp between the classical and medieval worlds. In alternating prose and verse, Boethius spins a dialog concerning the harsh vicissitudes of fortune and the lasting happiness provided by the life of the mind. Slavitt's prose translation is accessible and makes frequent use of colloquialisms. His poetic translations-too often paraphrased in earlier editions-are not weighed down with attempted fidelities to ancient meter and use contemporary forms to evoke the gravity and grace of the original. While the book does include a brief biographical and textual introduction by Seth Lerer (English & comparative literature, Stanford Univ.), its lack of textual apparatus makes this edition less than ideal for students. It does succeed, however, as a springboard for personal reflection and a source of literate pleasure. Recommended for large public and academic libraries.-Steven Chabot, Univ. of Toronto

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140447804
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/2000
  • Series: Penguin Classics Series
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 212,384
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.75 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Ancius Boethius (c. A.D.480-524) was a Roman philosopher and is considered one of the last authentic representatives of the classical world, in both his life and writings. It is through Boethius' translations that the knowledge of Aristotle has survived in the West. Victor Watts read Classics and English at Merton College Oxford. He is Master of Grey College and part-time Senior Lecturer in the School of English and Linguistics at Durham University.

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Table of Contents

The Consolation of Philosophy
" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="5" border="0"Preface
Introduction
I. Introductory
II. Boethius' Life and Writings
III. The Consolation of Philosophy
IV. The Christianity of Boethius
V. The Text

The Consolation of Philosophy
Book I
Book II
Book III
Book IV
Book V
Bibliography
Glossary

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2003

    The One and the Good

    Here you find the unequivocal declaration that not riches, not high position, not fame, not physical pleasure are worth pursuing in-and-of themselves. Such things are of value only if they are obtained in the pursuit of the highest Good. This highest Good is demonstrated to be God. Moreover, Boethius points out that when evil men succeed in obtaining such goals over the righteous, then they cease to truly be men- they are beasts and subhuman. This is a refreshing reminder in the modern world, a world not unlike that of late Roman times. All happyness, all worth, all reason for being, lies in the One and the Good. Even when we commit immoral acts, it is a result of ignorance on our part in seeking this ultimate goal. Indeed, to turn from the quest of finding the One is to cease to exist at any meaningful level. There is no "fire and brimstone", or talk of eternal torment in hell here. There doesn't need to be. As long as you willfully or ignorantly stray from the Path then you are in hell. And to not find reconnection with the One and the Good is to cease to exist. All of our earthly existence is for the purpose of reawakening to our true nature. This truth lies within all of us and it is only reached by personal introspection (Know thyself.) Only in this way will we return to the eternal Source that lies beyond time itself. The consolation of the Consolatio lies in the fact that suffering serves a purpose if it puts us back on the true Path. Moreover, earthly recognition of virtue is irrelevent. God always recognises the man of virtue if the masses do not.

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