Boethius and Dialogue: Literary Method in the "Consolation by Seth Lerer

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By Seth Lerer

This booklet treats Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy as a piece of imaginitive literature, and applies sleek options of feedback to his writings. The author's imperative goal is to illustrate the methodological and thematic coherence of The comfort of Philosophy.

Originally released in 1985.

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42 In his attitude towards past learning and its place in the pres­ ent, Boethius seems to invert Cicero's claims: Cicero aimed to initiate a movement, Boethius, to close it. To this point, I have argued that Boethius' prefaces and digressions sketch the life of a reader and writer, and one might therefore seek an example of Boethius manipulating a text to focus on the problems of writing and "textuality" central to the personal and cultural contexts of his task. Just such an example has been provided by Brian Stock, whose reading of the Perihermeneias commentary itself shows the commentator concerned with the relationship of speech to writing, and in turn, with the problems of producing a written 41 As does Chadwick, Boethius, p.

8, p. "23 In addition to establishing a literary method, this statement also affirms the debate's commitment to the forms of Aris­ totelian argument outlined in Cicero's Topica. Cicero had con­ sidered debate (contentio) to originate from a "question at stake" (qua de re agitur) (Topica, 95). The dialogue in the Tusculan's first book grows from an issue posed by the questioner (here, whether death is a great evil), and the discussion seems to begin in answer both to Cicero's commitment to report the discussion as it transpired (the idiom quasi agatur res) and to his initial invitation to suggest any subject as a theme.

R. Trask (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1953), pp. 149-150. More detailed studies of the relationship between literature and its public at different periods of the Empire include K. Quinn1 "Poet and Audience in the Augustan Age," in W. 1 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1982), pp. 140-166. For the educational backgrounds to the literary public, see, S. B. Bonner, Education in Ancient Rome (Berkeley and Los Angeles: Univ. of California Press, 1977), pp. 212-249. For the role of education in Late Antiquity, see H.

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