Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Classical Studies



Publication Title

The Poetics of Late Latin Literature


The literary tradition associated with Boethius's consolatio philosophiae is well known and crucial to Western literary history. As readers, we envision Boethius sitting in his cell, contemplating the injustice of his suffering and impending death. Philosophia ("Lady Philosophy") comes to him to furnish a therapeutic cure that will change his perspective, bring him peace of mind and strength to face a fate that he does not control. In the consolatio, Boethius revisits the age-old quarrel between philosophy (for Christians, theology) and poetry by drawing upon discrete forms of prose and poetry and by adopting the content of the ancient philosophical and poetic traditions--and even Christian traditions. Poetry, the source of lies, stands side by side with its opposite, philosophy, the way of truth.


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