Letters of Heloise and Abelard: A Translation of Their Complete Correspondence / Edition 1

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The letters of Heloise and Abelard remain some of the great romantic and intellectual documents of human civilization while the writers themselves are probably second only to Romeo and Juliet in the fame accrued by tragic lovers. Living in the abbey of the Paraclete in twelfth-century France, the two poured their hearts and minds out to each other in a series of letters. The letters are notable for their intelligence, insight, and philosophy and make clear the reason Heloise and Abelard’s story has resounded for centuries. Here, for the first time, is the collected correspondence with accessible commentary from two of our foremost medieval scholars. This book will be a necessity for anyone interested in the medieval period or in these two touchingly unforgettable figures from the distant past.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Heloise and Abelard have been extraordinarily well served by this latest translation of their celebrated correspondence. Every aspect of the book is exemplary, from its comprehensive and unobtrusive annotations, to its enthralling introduction. But the greatest strength of the book is perhaps to undo a lot of the posthumous myth-making surrounding the couple, as its brisk and supple translation allows them to speak openly in their own terms. Thus Heloise clearly emerges with all her fierce passion and fiercer intelligence, while Abelard presents a personality as contradictory as his philosophy, being by turns nostalgic and repentant, combative and humble, caustic and self-pitying. Nonetheless the edition does not restrict itself to these voices alone, but expands their dialogue into a full-blown symposium, including a generous selection of related letters by both hostile and sympathetic parties, such as Peter the Venerable and Bernard of Clairvaux. In sum, this edition is an astonishing scholarly achievement, and will no doubt stand as the authoritative edition for some decades to come.”—Ben Parsons, Teaching Fellow in English, University of Leicester

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312229351
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 12/22/2009
  • Series: New Middle Ages Series
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 386
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.57 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Martin McLaughlin was one of the pre-eminent medieval historians of the twentieth-century. Her scholarship concentrated on the religious lives of medieval women and children and families in the Middle Ages. She was the editor of The Portable Medieval Reader and The Portable Renaissance Reader, with James Bruce Ross. She taught at the University of Nebraska, Wellesley College, and Vassar College.

Bonnie Wheeler teaches at Southern Methodist University where she directs the Medieval Studies program. She specializes in medieval literature and history with a focus on gender issues and has edited and co-edited fourteen books. She is the executive editor of Arthuriana and President of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals.

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Table of Contents

Introductory Essay
Abelard's Letter of Consolation to a Friend: A Story of Calamities
Heloise to Abelard
Abelard to Heloise
Heloise to Abelard
Abelard to Heloise
Heloise to Abelard
Abealrd to Heloise: The Origin of Nuns
Abelard to Heloise: A Rule for Nuns
Abelard to Heloise : 'On Studies'
Abelard's Last Letter to Heloise: A Profession of Faith
Forty-Two Questions Posed by Heloise and Answered by Abelard
Abelard to Bernard of Clairvaux
Abelard to His Comrades
Bernard of Clairvaux to Cardinal Ivo
Bernard of Clarivaux to Pope Innocent II
Peter the Venerable to Pope Innocent II
Peter the Venerable to Heloise
Heloise to Peter the Venerable
Peter the Venerable to Heloise

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