The Letters of Abelard and Heloise

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9781619492592: The Letters of Abelard and Heloise
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This collection of correspondence between medieval scholar Peter Abelard and Heloise, a French nun, chronicles one of the most tragic love affairs in all history. With their letters, the estranged lovers both mourn and reproach their romantic history as they address a variety of scholarly and professional topics common to the medieval period.

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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 the greatest logician of the twelfth century. He taught in Paris, where Heloise (1101 1164) was his pupil when they met.


For generations, Heloise has been the name in household advice. Continuing in the tradition of her mother, the original Heloise, today's Heloise has become a media phenomenon. Along with her numerous television appearances and worldwide syndicated newspaper column, she has a monthly feature in Good Housekeeping, and her own website. Heloise is the author of several bestselling books.

M. T. Clanchy researches at the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London.


M. T. Clanchy researches at the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London.


Betty Radice read classics at Oxford, then married and, in the intervals of bringing up a family, tutored in classics, philosophy and English. She became joint editor of the Penguin Classics in 1964. As well as editing the translation of Livy s The War with Hannibal she translated Livy s Rome and Italy, Pliny s Letters, The Letters of Abelard and Heloise and Erasmus s Praise of Folly, and also wrote the introduction to Horace s Complete Odes and Epodes, all for the Penguin Classics. She also edited Edward Gibbon s Memoirs of My Life for the Penguin English Library, and edited and annotated her translation of the younger Pliny s works for the Loeb Library of Classics and translated from Renaissance Latin, Greek and Italian for the Officina Bodoni of Verona. She collaborated as a translator in the Collected Works of Erasmus, and was the author of the Penguin Reference Book Who s Who in the Ancient World. Betty Radice was an honorary fellow of St Hilda s College, Oxford, and a vice-president of the Classical Association. Betty Radice died in 1985.

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ISBN 10:  1974546055 ISBN 13:  9781974546053
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