The Letters of Abelard and Heloise

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9781450586801: The Letters of Abelard and Heloise

Abelard and Heloise are nearly as famous a pair of tragic lovers as the fictional Romeo and Juliet, and their story (as revealed in "The Letters of Abelard and Heloise") remains one of the world's most dramatic and well-known love affairs. Their shared passion for knowledge, religious faith, and one another sealed their destiny. Abelard was a well-respected, 12th-century Parisian philosopher and teacher, and Heloise was his gifted young student. Through their impassioned writings unfolds the story of a romance, from its reckless, ecstatic beginnings to the public scandal, enforced secret marriage, and devastating consequences that followed. These eloquent and intimate "Letters of Abelard and Heloise" express a vast range of emotions from adoration and devotion to reproach, indignation, and grief, and offer a fascinating insight into religious life in the Middle Ages. Their ardor is unmistakable; as Abelard writes to his love, "So intense were the fires of lust which bound me to you that I set those wretched, obscene pleasures, which we blush even to name, above God as above myself..." When their hidden marriage could no longer withstand the challenges in its path, each lover sought refuge in the church--Abelard became a monk and Heloise an abbess. Their correspondence continued as both achieved success in their new careers but continued to struggle with their feelings for one another. "The Letters of Abelard and Heloise" powerfully articulate the wide range of emotions they experienced. So timeless is their love story that--after eight centuries--their passion, their devotion, and their struggle still resonate with readers.

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Review:

Abelard and Heloise are nearly as famous a pair of tragic lovers as the fictional Romeo and Juliet; their shared passion for knowledge, religious faith, and one another sealed their destiny. Abelard was a well-respected, 12th-century Parisian scholar and teacher, and Heloise was his talented young student. The two relate their story through a set of letters to one another and intimate acquaintances. Their ardor is unmistakable; as Abelard writes to his love, "So intense were the fires of lust which bound me to you that I set those wretched, obscene pleasures, which we blush even to name, above God as above myself..." This forbidden lust resulted in a pregnancy and secret marriage, and when their union could no longer withstand the challenges in its path, each lover sought refuge in the church--Abelard became a monk and Heloise an abbess. Their correspondence continued as both achieved success in their new careers but continued to struggle with their feelings for one another; the set of letters powerfully articulates the wide range of emotions they experienced. So timeless is their love story that--after eight centuries--their passion, their devotion, and their struggle still resonate with readers.

About the Author:

Peter Abelard (1079–1142) was a medieval French scholastic philosopher, theologian and preeminent logician. The story of his affair with and love for Héloïse has become legendary. The Chambers Biographical Dictionary describes him as "the keenest thinker and boldest theologian of the 12th Century".

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Abelard, Peter; Heloise [Contributor]
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Abelard, Peter
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