Nicholas Trevet OP (d. ca. 1334) was one of the premier intellectuals of late medieval England--and, indeed, among the most inventive commentators of the European Middle Ages. Not that Trevet's methods--the careful parsing of his source text, with reference to its literary features and relevant intertexts--were particularly new. These were, indeed, the basis of textual commentary throughout the Middle Ages, applying the model of Servius to a range of authoritative secular writings and, especially, the canon of Scripture. Instead, Trevet innovated in the texts he chose to gloss. He was the first post-classical scholar to gloss Livy, the tragedies of Seneca the Younger, and the Declamations of Seneca the Elder, and he was the first medieval commentator to gloss Augustine's City of God. Unaware of the only previous gloss on Jerome's Hebraicum translation of the Psalter, by Herbert of Bosham, Trevet produced his own commentary on that text as well.

Certainly, he cannot claim to have been the first to gloss Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy, a particularly authoritative and well-studied source throughout the Middle Ages, but his commentary became, arguably, the standard reference work on that text over the course of the fourteenth century, drawn on by Chaucer and, indeed, by other interested readers on either side of the Reformation.

No edition of Trevet's commentary on the Consolation has been published, but one was prepared by the late E. T. Silk, Professor of Classics at Yale University from 1929 until his retirement 1970. Professor Silk's typescript is made available here as a series of OCR'd PDFs, in line with his widow's wishes that this valuable undertaking be of use to medievalists. It is hoped that these files will encourage and support more work on Trevet, both as a source for other writers and as an important witness to trends in medieval literary criticism and the scholastic commentary tradition. 

 

Editor's Preface  Trevet's Prologue 

Book 1 – Book 2 – Book 3 – Book 4 – Book 5

 

The work of scanning the typescript was carried out by myself, in conjunction with Alastair Minnis, who further explains the significance of Silk's work and the dissemination of hardcopies of the edition. Of the eight manuscripts used in Silk's edition, a digitization of the microfilm of Paris BnF lat. 18424 (P), has been posted on gallica.bnf.fr, and this can be used to check his text where necessary. Some photographs of BodL Rawl. G 187 (R) are also available on the Bodleian's Luna page.