E 891 dl: Medieval Latin Authors



This syllabus is subject to change. The latest version on this website is the binding syllabus.

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WEEK 5: Boethius
18 February


This week, we consider the dialogue. Consider the Platonic dialogue, and Augustine's early dialogues. What role does the reader play in his or her empathetic response to the dialogue? Why is that role useful to an author? Consider, too, saints' vitae and the dialogue between martyrs and executioners found there, and the call and response of liturgy and doxology. How do Dame Philosophy's responses to Boethius compare to these other sources?

The image on the right illustrates how the Consolatio is in dialogue with its commentary.

Big question: How does fortuna mesh with the calculus of sin and punishment? If the skein of your fate is already woven, why behave?

Resource: Marenbon, Boethius (Oxford, 2006)


1) Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius.

2) Curtius, chapter 11, pp. 203-213.

NB. Recent collection on Boethius in the Middle Ages by Brill; good introduction to issues and sources. Here is a collection on the Boethian traditons in the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Italy.