Abelard and Heloise: The Letters and Other Writings (Hackett Classics)

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9780872208759: Abelard and Heloise: The Letters and Other Writings (Hackett Classics)
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The most comprehensive compilation of the works of Abelard and Heloise ever presented in a single volume in English, The Letters and Other Writings features an accurate and stylistically faithful new translation of both The Calamities of Peter Abelard and the remarkable letters it sparked between the ill-fated twelfth-century philosopher and his brilliant former student and lover―an exchange whose intellectual passion, formal virtuosity, and psychological drama distinguish it as one of the most extraordinary correspondences in European history. Thanks to this edition, Latin-less readers will be better placed than ever to see why this undisputed milestone in the intellectual life of medieval France is also a masterpiece of Western literature.

In addition to the The Calamities and the letters--the first complete English translation of all seven in more than eighty years--this volume includes an Introduction, a map, and a chronology, Abelard's Confession of Faith, letters between Heloise and Peter the Venerable, the Introduction to The Questions of Heloise, and selected songs and poems by Abelard, among them a previously untranslated shaped poem, Open Wide Your Eyes. Extracts of lost letters sometimes ascribed to Abelard and Heloise are given in appendixes.

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About the Author:

William Levitan is Associate Professor of Classics, Grand Valley State University and a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome.

Review:

This text has a tremendous advantage over the Penguin: its introduction is geared to smart undergrads, its notes are precise and helpful, and its translations are really readable. Plus the book's design is eminently satisfying. This text exemplifies the best combination of deep erudition and user/student-friendly features. I will use it again. --Louise M. Bishop, Clark Honors College, University of Oregon



Levitan's fresh translations administer a series of productive shocks to the system. Nothing looks or sounds the same. . . . This will be a marvelous teaching text, and it deserves to enliven the syllabi of many, many courses. But it will also energize scholars. --Carol Symes, University of Illinois, in The Medieval Review



This valuable translation of a major body of Medieval Latin prose and verse with extensive scholarly notes and appendices stands out for its comprehensive coverage of the Abelardian epistolary corpus. It offers the Historia calamitatum, the seven letters (all following the Muckle/McLaughlin edition and following their counting), the Heloisae Problemata, the confession (both from PL clxxviii), the letters of Peter the Venerable from and to Heloise (from Constable's edition), and a selection of the songs and poems (including the laments for the daughter of Jephtha and for Saul and Jonathan). . . . Exactly what is needed for the general reader. --Medium Aevum

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