Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin Classics) Revised Edition Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 111 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0140447804
ISBN-10: 0140447806
Why is ISBN important?
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy new
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
List Price: $16.00 Save: $5.48 (34%)
98 New from $4.69
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
The Consolation of Philos... has been added to your Cart
More Buying Choices
98 New from $4.69 110 Used from $0.01 1 Collectible from $9.85
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Prime Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student

GRE Resources
GRE Resources
Featured GRE prep guides. Sponsored by McGraw-Hill.Learn more.
$10.52 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin Classics)
  • +
  • Plato: Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo (Hackett Classics)
Total price: $19.16
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Latin

From the Back Cover

The Consolation of Philosophy is perhaps unique in the nature and extent of its influence on Western thinking.

An eminent public figure under the Gothic emperor Theodoric, Boethius (c. A D 475-525) was also an exceptional Greek scholar and it was to the Greek philosophers that he turned when he fell from favour and was imprisoned in Pavia. Written in the period leading up to his brutal execution, it is a dialogue of alternating prose and verse between the ailing prisoner and his 'nurse' Philosophy, whose instruction on the nature of fortune and happiness, good and evil, fate and free will, restore his health and bring him to enlightenment.

The clarity of Boethius's thought and his breadth of vision made The Consolation of Philosophy hugely popular throughout medieval Europe and his ideas suffused the thought of Chaucer and Dante. This translation makes it accessible to the modern reader while losing nothing of Boethius's poetic artistry and philosophical brilliance.


New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 155 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised Edition edition (May 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140447806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140447804
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I didn't know exactly what to expect when I first picked up a modern-English translation of Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius' _The Consolation of Philosophy_. I knew that Boethius was held to be one of the greatest thinkers of his time--a child prodigy from a distinguished Roman family, a distinguished student of Greek, who essayed to translate all of Plato and Aristotle into Latin, and reconcile their philosophies (a task which he never completed). I knew that _The Consolation_ was held to be one of the most influential books of the middle-ages: translated into English by Geoffrey Chaucer and no less than two English monarchs.
I didn't expect the fusion of allegorical tale, platonic dialogue, and lyrical poetry (the genre is officially called the Menippean Satire)that I found. The issues _The Consolation of Philosophy_ addresses were already the time-worn province of philosophical thought by the time that Boethius essayed to address them: the nature of predestination and free will, why evil men often prosper and good men (as Boethius thought himself) often fall into ruin, the nature of the relationship between time and eternity. And the answers are mostly not new with him either: long chains of sophistical reasonings that prove, among other things, that evil men do not wholly exist, and that by allowing them to obtain their evil desires, God is punishing them more terribly than if he had stopped them. The answers are familiar, in tone, if not in exact content: a mystic-based neoplatonic vision of God as an eternal oneness, to which the soul rises through the layers of being. A somewhat recursively defined and unworldly 'good,' to which all souls aspire.
Read more ›
Comment 134 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The particular edition I am reviewing is the Oxford World's Classics translation by P. G. Walsh.

This is one of those classics that can catch an unsuspecting reader completely by surprise, especially if one has read many other works by near contemporaries. The circumstances under which it was composed are legendary, and lend the work a legitimacy granted to few other works. Boethius was among the foremost government officials in what was essentially the successor government to the end of the Roman Empire. Rome and much of the rest of what would later become Italy was under the control of the Ostrogoth king Theodoric. A product of one of the leading Roman familes, Boethius ascended to a power of great honor and authority under Theodoric, only to be accused of treason late in the latter's life, at which point Boethius was imprisoned and condemned to death. While awaiting his fate (including whether Theodoric actually intended on carrying out the sentence), Boethius wrote this remarkable dialog between a prisoner whose situation closely resembles Boethius' and Philosophy personified as a woman. Although many topics are discussed, the heart of the dialog is the nature of true happiness.

Although few of its readers are likely to face circumstances as dire as Boethius', the work remains remarkably pertinent in an age where ideals of happiness are dictated almost entirely by our modern consumer society. Philosophy carefully explains to the prisoner that that happiness can never be found in such things as fame or power or riches and other things that are confused with the true source of happiness.
Read more ›
1 Comment 94 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
That Boethius was the "last of the Romans and the first of the scholastics", as has often been said of him, makes him a most unusual character in the history of thought. Serving as a bridge between two worlds, his writings, infused with the ideas of both Aristotle and Plato -- the two giants of ancient Greek philosophy -- allowed for the transmission of Neoplatonism into the emerging Christian intellectual tradition. Through the figure of Boethius the Latin West came to inherit many of the achievements of Greek learning.
The Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius's magnum opus, was one of the most widely read works in medieval Europe, especially in the twelfth century. No doubt, the dramatic context in which the work was written must have greatly accentuated its popularity. But there is more to the Consolation then simply a dramatic background, and this feature in itself would hardly explain the influence of the work on figures ranging from King Alfred to St.Thomas Aquinas. Boethius, being at once a Christian and a philosopher, was confident that reason and faith were reconcilable, and his entire literary enterprise can be summarised in his own words: fidem rationemque coniunge (show the harmony of reason and faith). An inheritor of the Greek tradition, he held that the world was a KOSMOS -- rationally structured, therefore rationally knowable. What makes the Consolation unique is that although it is a religious text, it doesn't make recourse to revealed religion; in Boethius's case, Christianity. That Boethius sought to answer religious questions without reference to Christianity, relying solely on natural philosophy, caused some later figures to question his religious allegiance prior to his death.
Read more ›
1 Comment 47 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin Classics)
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin Classics)

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: penguin classics history