This is a section about The Consolations of Philosophy translated by Geoffrey Chaucer.

The Consolation of Philosophy, detail from a contemporary painting

De Consolatione Philosophiae (Latin, “on the consolation of philosophy“) is a celebrated Latin work in prose and verse, written by Boethius about 525 A. D. It was translated into Anglo-Saxon by Alfred the Great. Chaucer translated it into English prose before 1382. Caxton published it in 1480.

The Consolation of Philosophy was written by Boethius while in prison awaiting execution. It a moving meditation, written from the heart, written by an intellectual in an age of barbarism, as he contemplates his fall from power and his impending doom. Chaucer's translation was influential in introducing Boethius's neo-classical, and probably pagan, philosophy into medieval England, and helped revive interest in classical literature and thought.

It is a measure of Chaucer's erudition, in an age when most were illiterate, that he was able to translate a sophisticated work of Latin philosophy, written in a sophisticated but dead language, into the vibrant language spoken by the English people of Chaucer;s day. In so doing, Chaucer re-opened a link to the past and help revive learning and philosophical enquiry, thereby contributing to the sparks that started the Renaissance. It is perhaps ironic that today, because of changes in language, Chaucer's own work require's translation and explanation in order to fully understand and appreciate it.

Canterbury Tale Summaries

Geoffrey Chaucer
Geoffrey Chaucer

Canterbury Tales - The Wife of Bath's Tale
The Wife of Bath's Tale

Canterbury Tales - The Miller's Tale
The Miller's Tale

Canterbury Tales - The Shipman's Tale
The Shipman's Tale

Canterbury Tales - The Knight's Tale
The Knight's Tale

Canterbury Tales - The Summoner's tale
The Summoner's Tale

Canterbury Tales - The Pardoner's Tale
The Pardoner's Tale

Canterbury Tales - The Prioress's Tale
The Prioress's Tale

Canterbury Tales - The Cook's Tale
The Cook's Tale

Canterbury Tales - The Monk's Tale
The Monk's Tale

Canterbury Tales - The Merchant's Tale
The Merchant's Tale

Canterbury Tales - The Nun's Priest's Tale
The Nun's Priest's Tale

Canterbury Tales - The Franklin's Tale
The Franklin's Tale