Ordering Chaos

The Self and the Cosmos in Twelfth-Century Latin Prosimetrum


From c. 1100 until c. 1170, Latin prosimetrical texts characterized by dialogue, allegory, and philosophical speculation enjoyed a notable popularity within the cultural ambit of the French cathedral schools. Inspired by Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy, the prosimetrum writers applied his literary techniques to the ethical and anthropological concerns of their own era, producing texts of great artistry in the process. This book investigates the rise of the Boethian impulse in Latin, the innovations of the twelfth-century writers, the difficulties that arose when they attempted to recapture the certainty that characterized the Consolation, and the survival of aspects of this literary mode in later Latin and vernacular literature.

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Bridget K. Balint, Ph.D. (2002) in Medieval Latin, Harvard University, is Assistant Professor of Classical Studies at Indiana University - Bloomington. She studies the literature and poetics of the High Middle Ages (1000-1300).

Introduction: The Writing of Prosimetrum in the Middle Ages
1. The Authority of the Consolation
2. The Interlocutors
3. Situating the Self
4. Truth and Instability in the Prosimetra
5. Fabulous Philosophizing after 1170

Medievalists and Latinists interested in the Boethian tradition, the literature of the twelfth century, prosimetrical texts, and the intersection of literature and philosophy.
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