Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Title

Literary Theory & Criticism in the Later Middle Ages: Interpretation, Invention, Imagination. Essays in Honour of Alastair Minnis



Publisher Name

Cambridge University Press

Publisher Location



The Consolatio philosophiae of the Roman statesman and philosopher Boethius (fifth/sixth century) was read and studied intensely in medieval western Europe and repeatedly translated into vernacular languages. Medieval commentaries on this text and translations of it claim attention today as case studies in a history of reading, for they exemplify the practices of medieval literary scholasticism. In an English context, the final flowering of this reading tradition may be placed in the year 1556, when John Cawoode printed a new translation of the Consolatio by a ‘George Coluile, alias Coldewel’. The translator remains unidentified. The translation is a medieval throwback in its treatment of Boethius’s text. Whereas subsequent English translators of the Consolatio separate text from commentary, Colvile permitted these categories to interpenetrate. He transmitted a wealth of exegetical material traceable to a commentary on the Consolatio attributed falsely to Thomas Aquinas. Pseudo-Thomas’s commentary and Boethius’s Consolatio were often printed together after their editio princeps in 1473. Colvile probably worked from a book printed in Lyon between 1486 and 1498.


Author Posting © The Author, 2023. This is the author's version of the work. This material has been published in revised form in Literary Theory and Criticism in the Later Middle Ages: Interpretation, Invention, Imagination by Ardis Butterfield, Ian Johnson, and Andrew Kraebel, This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution or re-use.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.