Reading Boethius: Orpheus, Eurydice, and the Quest for Happiness


Course Description

Fifteen hundred years after the composition of the Consolation of Philosophy, many of the ideas presented in Boethius’ (c. 480–524) seminal work still have relevance today. This course will consider Boethius’ philosophical examination of consolation and happiness. How can humans, who constantly seek out happiness, understand this never-ending chase? When we finally reach one goal, why does another sprout in its place? What does this tell us about our nature? How is our happiness affected by a world that experiences constant change, change that is separate and independent of our own free will? 

With these questions in mind, we will also explore the exemplum of Orpheus and Eurydice. Participants will read the myths from the perspective of Virgil and Ovid and then compare them to the version of the tale found in the Consolation of Philosophy. We will seek to understand why Orpheus represents such an important image for Boethius. More importantly, what can we, the reader, learn from the story? What does this story of loss have to do with consolation, fre edom of choice, and human happiness? 

Books to Purchase (will be available at Argo Bookshop during the weeks prior to the course beginning):

    • The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius (Trans. Peter Walsh - Oxford)

Please note that this course has a maximum enrollment of 16 students.

NEW PAYMENT POLICY: Participants must pay the course fees in order to be considered registered for the course. 

For fully registered courses, a waiting list will be created. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please note that we do not allow participants to audit courses for free.

Course Details

Location: Atwater or Online

First Session: Tuesday, January 16th, 2024

Course Length: 6 weeks, Tuesdays, 6:15 to 8:15 p.m.

Discussion Team: Jim Cullen, Joseph Vietri           

Degree Credit: 1.5 credits

Course Fee: 

$120.00 (standard tuition)
$80.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$145.00 (standard tuition)
$105.00 (promotion for new students)

Course fees are refundable in full before the first session. After the first session, a fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the second session. Please note that non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal.

Students pursuing studies for credit are encouraged to consult with their advisers as they register for courses.

Course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers, should call (514) 935-9585 to pay by phone or to schedule an appointment to pay in person.

Fill the following form to register

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