Renaissance Consolations: Philosophical Remedies for Fate and Fortune

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Philosophy during the Renaissance adopted a range of different literary forms. One that proved popular was the work of consolation, inspired by ancient models such as the consolatory works of Seneca. Many of these works were prompted by immediate, often traumatic events – both personal and political – and were sincere attempts to draw on ancient models of consolatory thought for the therapeutic benefit they might confer. In this chapter I examine examples of philosophical consolation by Petrarch, Filelfo, and Scala among others, approaching them as practical responses to the vicissitudes of fate and fortune. In particular I focus on the way these authors draw on ancient therapeutic arguments recorded in Cicero and Seneca, such as the Stoic denial that external events are ever truly bad. I shall also be concerned with what these Renaissance works tells us about how their authors conceived the role and purpose of philosophy – a practical guide to life.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFate and Fortune in European Thought, ca. 1400-1650
EditorsOvanes Akopyan
Place of PublicationLeiden
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-04-45996-0
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-35972-7
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

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