Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Stephen Blackwood - The Consolation of Philosophy and the Aural Tradition

This paper argues that the acoustic aspect of Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy, though almost completely neglected in the history of scholarship, is essential to the consolation the text is designed to effect. The paper looks first at the power Boethius associates with (especially) rhythmic sound in his De institutione musica; then proceeds to look at the Consolation’s explicit references to its own sound; then sets out briefly how the work’s poetic meters contain an intricate and symmetrical system of rhythmic-acoustic repetition, and how these function therapeutically; and finally concludes with a consideration of the theological standpoint that underlies this acoustic, embodied therapy. 

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