The Sovereignty of Wisdom: Boethius’ Consolation in the Light of Folklore

in Mnemosyne
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

Abstract

This article argues that Boethius’ Consolation can be read in a folklore key as an allegorical version of the Adventure of the Hero. The text has been the object of analysis often enough, but never, to the author’s knowledge, from the perspective proposed here. The article begins by discussing the shortcomings of certain critical positions regarding the identity of Philosophy. It then applies to the Consolation tools taken from the field of folklore studies—the narrative model proposed in Propp’s Morphology of the Folktale, and the thematic pattern of Sovereignty. Analysis in this light provides evidence that Philosophy is an embodiment of Sovereignty herself, a symbolic figure usually studied by Celtic and Scandinavian scholars, but one which demonstrably plays a key role in Classical literatures as well. This approach is shown to clarify several major aspects of Boethius’ text: the peculiar interplay of its metaphors, the role of Philosophy, the narrative structure within which she exists, and the significance of the various motifs and voice associated with her.

The Sovereignty of Wisdom: Boethius’ Consolation in the Light of Folklore

in Mnemosyne

Sections

References

AarneA.ThompsonS. The Types of the Folktale 1961 Helsinki

AguirreM. The Riddle of Sovereignty MLR 1993 88 273 282

AguirreM. ThomasN. Weaving-Related Symbolism in Early European Literature Celtic and Germanic Myths in European Literature 1994 Lewiston/Queenston/Lampeter 1 11

AguirreM. The Theme of the Drink Bearer Neohelicon 1998 25 291 309

AguirreM. Narrative Composition in the Saga of the Volsungs Saga-Book 2002 26 5 37

AguirreM. The Grieving City: Lucan’s Aged Rome and the Morphology of Sovereignty Neohelicon 2008 35 31 60

AndersonG. Fairy Tale in the Ancient World 2000 London

BascomW. The Forms of Folklore: Prose Narratives JAF 1965 78 3 20

BreatnachR.A. The Lady and the King: A Theme of Irish Literature Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review 1953 42 321 356

ChadwickH. Theta on Philosophy’s Dress in Boethius MAev 1980 49 175 179

CourcelleP. Le personnage de Philosophie dans la littérature latine JS 1970 43 209 252

CrabbeA. GibsonM. Literary Design in the De Consolatione Philosophiae Boethius: His Life Thought and Influence 1981 Oxford 237 274

CurtiusE.R. European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages 1948 (London; tr. W.R. Trask 1953)

DavidsonH.E. Roles of the Northern Goddess 1998 London

DuffJ.D. Lucan: De bello civili 1962 Harvard

Eadmer Historia Novorum Liber Primus retrievable at http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/04z/z_1060-1129__Eadmerus_Monachus_Cantuariensis__Historia_Novorum__MLT.pdf.html

FaglesR. The Iliad 1990 New York

FoleyH.P. The Homeric Hymn to Demeter 1994 Princeton

GruberJ. Die Erscheinung der Philosophie in der Consolatio Philosophiae des Boethius RhM 1969 112 166 186

GruberJ. Kommentar zu Boethius De Consolatione Philosophiae 1978 Berlin

HansenW. Mythology and Folktale Typology: Chronicle of a Failed Scholarly Revolution JFR 1997 34 275 280

MacCanaP. Aspects of the Theme of King and Goddess in Irish Literature EC 1955-1956 7 76 114 1958-9 8 59-65

MarenbonJ. Boethius 2003 Oxford

MayorA. Bibliography of Classical Folklore Scholarship: Myths, Legends, and Popular Beliefs of Ancient Greece and Rome Folklore 2000 111 123 138

MostG.W. Hesiod: Theogony Works and Days Testimonia 2006 Cambridge, MA

O’ConnellJ.J. Boethius’ Consolatio Philosophiae University of Virginia Library 2005 retrievable at http://www.euronet.nl/users/joostkok/boethius/boeconc/main.htm

O’GradyS. Silva Gadelica 1892 London

OttoR. Das Heilige: über das Irrationale in der Idee des Göttlichen und sein Verhältnis zum Rationalen 1917 München

PlatnauerM. Claudian: De bello Gildonico 1922 Harvard

PlatnauerM. Claudian: De consulatu Stilichonis 1922 Harvard

ProppV. Morphology of the Folktale 1928/1968 Austin

RelihanJ.C. Old Comedy, Menippean Satire, and Philosophy’s Tattered Robes in Boethius’ Consolation ICS 1990 15 183 194

RelihanJ.C. The Prisoner’s Philosophy: Life and Death in Boethius’s Consolation 2007 Notre Dame, IN

RobertsA.DonaldsonJ. The Shepherd of Hermas 1885 retrievable at http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/shepherd.html

SilkE.T. Boethius’s Consolatio Philosophiae as a Sequel to Augustine’s Dialogues and Soliloquia HThR 1939 32 19 39

TesterS.J. Boethius: The Theological Tractates and The Consolation of Philosophy 1973 Cambridge, MA

TurnerV. Dramas Fields and Metaphors: Symbolic Action in Human Society 1974 Ithaca

WattsV.E. Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy 1969 London

1)

Marenbon 200398.

3)

Relihan 20074.

4)

Relihan 20075.

5)

Relihan 200715.

6)

Relihan 200774.

8)

Relihan 200768.

9)

Relihan 1990192; for similar arguments see Relihan 2007 at 31 38 54 68-9. I have slightly modified his references to bring them in line with the system used in this article. ‘1P1.3’ stands for Book 1 Prose 1 line 3 in Tester’s edition. ‘1M1.15’ for Book 1 Metre 1 line 15.

11)

Chadwick 1980177.

14)

Relihan 20075.

16)

Relihan 20075

17)

Courcelle 1970. See also Silk 1939 and especially Gruber 1978.

18)

Courcelle 1970249.

19)

Crabbe 1981239.

20)

Gruber 197840. Also Gruber 1969 on the importance of conventional topoi in the tradition of visions and epiphanies.

23)

As defined in Otto 1917the Numinous is not to be equated with the supernatural but with that which cannot be grasped rationally and is hence a source of wonder and awe.

24)

On the pattern see Aguirre 1998 and 2002.

27)

Breatnach 1953.

31)

Luc. 1.185-205. See Aguirre 2008.

39)

Propp 196842.

44)

See Aguirre 1993.

45)

Fagles’ (1990) translation.

Information

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 18 18 3
Full Text Views 7 7 4
PDF Downloads 5 5 2
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0