The Letters of Abelard and Heloise is one of the most extraordinary correspondences in European history. Written in the 12th century, the letters document the love affair between Peter Abelard, a revolutionary philosopher and biblical scholar, and his beautiful and precocious student, Heloise. Eviscerated by his religious opponents and castrated by Heloise’s family, Abelard is haunted by ill fortune, and the star-crossed lovers are forced into separate lives, as monk and nun respectively, with letters being their only form of communication. What unfolds is tragic and heartbreaking, but also fascinating. The letters gave rise to compelling philosophical, theological, and sociological discussions, and they provide a window into the medieval mind as the everyday lives of the two lovers are laid bare through their passionate discourse.
Translation by William Levitan.
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Cosa ne pensano gli iscritti
- I. A. Wright
Arrogance and Infatuation
These letters show that it was far more than a simple love story. Abelard, an intelligent and very randy scholar, decided that seducing Heloise, a plain girl who was carefully protected by her father, would prove a challenge in her own home, under her father's nose, so to speak. She got pregnant, gave away the baby, moved to a nunnery after her family and jealous scholar castrated Abelard, who then moved to a monastery.
Heloise became an abbess; Abelard became an abbot. They continued their letters: she, forever besotted, proclaiming that she loved him more than she loved God, poor lass; he offering her advice
Did he ever regret how he'd treated her?.
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