The Consolation of Philosophy

The Consolation of Philosophy

The Consolation of Philosophy

The Consolation of Philosophy

Excerpt

This translation is based on the critical edition of The Consolation of Philosophy byWilliam Weinberger in the Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum (Vienna, 1934). I have checked my translation against the now standard critical edition by Ludwig Bieler, Boethii Philosophiae Consolatio (Turnhout, 1957). I have also used the excellent and convenient edition and translation prepared for The Loeb Classical Library byE. K. Rand andH. F. Stewart (Cambridge, Mass., 1918), both for comparing the Latin texts and as a check on my own readings of ambiguous passages. My purpose in this translation has been to provide students and the general reader with an accurate version of this famous medieval book in modern, idiomatic English.

The translator of The Consolation faces a number of serious problems. Boethius is one of the makers of the vocabulary of medieval philosophy, and employs many technical terms for which the English of the twentieth century provides no corresponding terms or, at best, terms which miss or confuse the precise meanings and distinctions of the medieval author. In many instances, Boethius' context makes the meaning of his philosophical terminology reasonably clear. Where it does not, I have tried to represent his ideas as nearly as I could in the language at my disposal.

The metrical parts of The Consolation raise further problems. Translators who have rendered these in verse have inevitably been forced by the demands of their art rather far from the meaning of the original. Since fidelity to the author's ideas, rather than imitation of his forms, has been my primary concern, I have chosen to translate his poems in prose and as literally as I could. In addition, this decision was influenced by my concern to preserve for the student of late medieval literature the figures and metaphors of this very influential . . .

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