There used to exist a literary genre called the consolatio, or consolatory essay. It is the type of thing that would be written by one person to another on the event of some terrible personal tragedy, such as the loss of a loved one. Sometimes (e.g., in the case of Boethius) the writer simply wrote it for himself. The ancient authors recognized it as a form of oratory, but it has been out of fashion for a long time now.
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