Consolatio Consolation Comfort

and consolation are frequent literary subjects. There are several different types of consolation, from the general comfort offered in some works in the elegy genre to the specific genre of the didactic consolatio. Old English elegiac examples include "The Wanderer," "Deor," and "Resignation." These poems bemoan exile and loss but contain sections of consolation that enable the poet to continue on. As didactic poetry, the consolation involves a series of stock arguments delivered by a "wise one" and addressed to the afflicted person in order to encourage a change of view.

In the early sixth century, a Christian Roman consul, Boethius, wrote the most influential of work this genre, The Consolation of Philosophy. Boethius combined the consolatio tradition of the classical period—which focused on instruction in virtuous conduct, often through dreams or ancestors—with the Christian apocalyptic vision. In this new hybrid, a divine or heavenly figure imparts knowledge and wisdom to the recipient. See also Meters of Boethius.

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