Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Consolation of Philosophy: Boethius by…

The Consolation of Philosophy: Boethius (edition 1962)

by Richard H. Green

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,130301,796 (3.86)90
Title:The Consolation of Philosophy: Boethius
Authors:Richard H. Green
Info:Prentice Hall (1962), Paperback, 160 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 90 mentions

English (25)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
An English rendering of the classic. ( )
  cjrecordvt | Aug 13, 2016 |
Another one of those books that I was supposed to have read a long time ago and never got around to...I'm so glad I did. I wish I could have read it in Latin because this English translation gave me the sense that the original must be breathtakingly beautiful. I have to think that what people love about this book, and what has kept them reading all these centuries, is the absolute humanity of its author, shining out on every page. A sad, triumphant, confusing, desolate, ultimately hopeful book that will take you less than three hours to read, and you should. ( )
  poingu | Jan 29, 2015 |
". . . nothing is miserable unless you think it so; and on the other hand, nothing brings happiness unless you are content with it."

"If you want to see the truth in clear light, and follow the right road, you must cast off all joy and fear. Fly from hope and sorrow. When these things rule, the mind is clouded and bound to the earth."

". . . integrity of conscious is somehow spoiled when a man advertises what he has done and receives the reward of public recognition."

". . . although nature makes very modest demands, avarice is never satisfied. My present point is simply this: if riches cannot eliminate need, but on the contrary create new demands, what makes you suppose that they can provide satisfaction?"

". . . true and perfect happiness is that which makes a man self-sufficient, powerful, worthy of reverence and renown, and joyful."

"If you would give every man what he deserves, then love the good and pity those who are evil." ( )
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
  gvenezia | Dec 26, 2014 |
Philosophy in the figure of a woman is calling Boethius to his better self having him realise that what he has lost - his honour, his freedom, his library, his fame & wealth - are inconsequential, they do not matter. Philosophy is bringing him to a true understanding. We need to abstract from time, from the process of life, to see things as how they would appear to an eternal being and we can rise to this perspective through philosophy. The consolation in regards to death is realising that when you die what you lose is the present moment as the past has ceased to be and the future has not yet to come. What you think you're losing is insufficiently important. Philosophy an take you into a world of higher understanding intellectual and moral. ( )
  Lonsing | Oct 4, 2014 |
Brilliant! Going in, I expected this to be difficult, like Plotinus, but it was actually very readable. It reminded me in places of The Republic, although the character of Boethius is much more lovable than that of Socrates. Also, I was fuzzy going in on whether Boethius was writing as a Christian or a Platonist. As it turns out, he has a foot in each camp. Christian-ish Neoplatonism, with a dash of Stoicism added in. Or maybe he was a Christian but decided to write his defense of philosophy without reference to divine revelation, just because? It is hard to tell. Anyway, this was just marvelous!

Boethius tackles the big questions of monotheism: theodicy, providence vs free will (which he does a particularly nice job with, btw); eternity vs infinity (this isn't one of the Big Questions, or has never been for me, but I found it fascinating anyway!), etc. Not that his answers, particularly to that of suffering, are fully satisfactory, but whose are? He doesn't tie himself in knots, the way Aristotle and Plotinus do, and the poems in between the prose sections are lovely.

The notes in this edition (Ignatius Critical Editions) are fantastic. Not only do they tell you everything you want to know (and maybe a little more), but they are on the Bottoms of the Relevant Pages, where notes Belong! I Love not having to flip to the back of the book to read the notes. Plus, the binding is a nice sturdy one, which makes a nice change (hint, hint, Oxford World's Classics!). The notes explain all the people, events, and stories a reader might not know, and also the works that Boethius is (or may be) referencing – the Bible, Hesiod, Homer, Horace, Virgil, Juvenal, Lucretius, Aristotle, Plato, Cicero, Augustine, etc. They also point to later authors who drew on Boethius, particularly Aquinas, Chaucer, Dante, Shakespeare, Milton (and not forgetting John Kennedy Toole!). Great book, great notes.

*The Contemporary Criticism, at the end, was less impressive. This was a collection of six essays on Boethius & the Consolation, by various authors (all college professors, with schools noted), none of which I found indispensable. Out of the six, I read the second, third, and fourth, and found them mildly interesting. The first, fifth, and sixth I tried but gave up on. I think it says something good about Boethius and his translators/footnoters that I didn't feel much Need for explanatory essays! ( )
2 vote meandmybooks | Aug 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (115 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Boethiusprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bax, Ernest-BelfortEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buchanan, James JEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Colvile, GeorgeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edman, IrwinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
James, H. R.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keenan, BrianPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schotman, J.W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walsh, P. G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watts, Victor E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
While I was thus mutely pondering within myself, and recording my sorrowful complainings with my pen, it seemed to me that there appeared above my head a woman of a countenance exceeding venerable.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Latin editions should be kept separate from translations.
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Born into the Roman aristocracy in the early 6th century, the successful civil servant Boethius lost everything when he was arbitrarily convicted of treason. In his prison cell, awaiting execution, he created a work of quiet genius, which for the next 1,000 years would be the most popular book in Europe next to the Bible.
The benevolent incarnation of Philosophy appears to him, and demonstrates how all the trappings of the life now denied him were transient and without true worth. Addressing the eternal question of how a benevolent God can allow the evil to prosper at the expense of the virtuous, Philosophy proves to be Boethius' spiritual salvation.

A bestselling Folio edition, The Consolation of Philosophy was first published in 1998 and is now in its 6th reprint.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140447806, Paperback)

‘Why else does slippery Fortune change
So much, and punishment more fit
For crime oppress the innocent?’

Written in prison before his brutal execution in AD 524, Boethius’s The Consolation of Philosophy is a conversation between the ailing prisoner and his ‘nurse’ Philosophy, whose instruction restores him to health and brings him to enlightenment. Boethius was an eminent public figure who had risen to great political heights in the court of King Theodoric when he was implicated in conspiracy and condemned to death. Although a Christian, it was to the pagan Greek philosophers that he turned for inspiration following his abrupt fall from grace. With great clarity of thought and philosophical brilliance, Boethius adopted the classical model of the dialogue to debate the vagaries of Fortune, and to explore the nature of happiness, good and evil, fate and free will.

Victor Watts’s English translation makes The Consolation of Philosophy accessible to the modern reader while losing nothing of its poetic artistry and breadth of vision. This edition includes an introduction discussing Boethius’s life and writings, a bibliography, glossary and notes.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:35 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

Boethius composed the De Consolatione Philosophiae in the sixth century A.D. whilst awaiting death under torture. He had been condemned on a charge of treason which he protested was manifestly unjust. Though a convinced Christian, in detailing the true end of life which is the soul's knowledge of God, he consoled himself not with Christian precepts but with the tenets of Greek philosophy. This work dominated the intellectual world of the Middle Ages; writers as diverse as Thomas Aquinas, Jean de Meun, and Dante were inspired by it. In England it was rendered into Old English by Alfred the Great, into Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer, and later Queen Elizabeth I made her own translation.The circumstances of composition, the heroic demeanour of the author, and the 'Menippean' texture of part prose, part verse (Boethius was a considerable poet) have combined to exercise a fascination over students of philosophy and literature ever since. The book should therefore prove to be of value to students and scholars of classics, philosophy, and religion as well as to more general readers.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.86)
1 6
1.5 3
2 21
2.5 4
3 79
3.5 18
4 120
4.5 19
5 99

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 109,721,884 books! | Top bar: Always visible