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The Consolation of Tragedy: Protrepsis in the Troilus

The Consolation of Tragedy: Protrepsis in the Troilus

(p.92) Chapter Three The Consolation of Tragedy: Protrepsis in the Troilus
Practicing Literary Theory in the Middle Ages
Eleanor Johnson
University of Chicago Press

This chapter takes a look at the vernacular, poetic Troilus, as a fictive elaboration of Boethian ideas. Like the Consolation of Philosophy, Troilus discusses the issues of fate versus free will, happiness, and the role of fortune in shaping the world. This poem's reevaluation of the Boethian literary form and function brings forth a new canniness about literary works as a means of ethical transformation. This chapter tries to explain how this poem teaches the Boethian paradigm of ethically transformative writing and reading, while at the same time also experimenting and violating this same paradigm. It examines the poem in light of Boethian literary theories and the practices of protreptic literature in its attempt to understand the implications put forth by Troilus.

Keywords:   troilus, boethian ideas, consolation of philosophy, fate versus free will, boethian literary form and function, ethical transformation, boethian paradigm, boethian literary theories, protreptic literature

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