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Situating The Self

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Chapter Summary

The prosimetrum authors manage to triangulate responses to the Boethian tradition, contemporary concerns about the status of the self, and their own self-representation, and in doing so, they each achieve a different point of balance, some more precarious than others. The model persona, the prisoner in Boethiuss Consolation of Philosophy, is undoubtedly a successful one. In the prosimetra, the use of the first person and the frequent autobiographical expressions project to the reader an image of the authors subjective self, while the dialogue between that self and another character provides a view of the self taking on one or more roles, and so establishes a social context. The three modes (self descriptively, prescriptively, and dynamically) of addressing the inner self have important functions in the twelfth-century saturae. The Cosmographia is the only one of the five twelfth-century prosimetra that lacks a visible authorial presence.

Keywords: Boethian tradition; Consolation of Philosophy; Cosmographia; inner self; twelfth-century prosimetra



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