The Love Letters of Abelard and Heloise (Illustrated with TOC)by Pierre Abelard
Distinguished in figure and manners, Abelard was seen
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Pierre Abélard (1079-1142) was a medieval French 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."
Distinguished in figure and manners, Abelard was seen surrounded by crowds — it is said thousands of students — drawn from all countries by the fame of his teaching. Enriched by the offerings of his pupils, and entertained with universal admiration, he came, as he says, to think himself the only undefeated philosopher in the world. But a change in his fortunes was at hand. In his devotion to science, he had always lived a very regular life, enlivened only by philosophical debate: now, at the height of his fame, he encountered romance.
Héloïse was well versed in classical letters, which extended beyond Latin to Greek and Hebrew. Abélard sought a place in Fulbert's house and then seduced Héloïse. The affair interfered with his career, and Abélard himself boasted of his conquest. Once Fulbert found out, they were separated, but met in secret. Héloïse became pregnant and was sent by Abélard to Brittany, where she gave birth to a son she named Astrolabe after the scientific instrument.
To appease Fulbert, Abélard proposed a secret marriage in order not to mar his career prospects. Héloïse initially opposed it, but the couple married. When Fulbert publicly disclosed the marriage, and Héloïse denied it, she went to the convent of Argenteuil at Abélard's urging. Fulbert, believing that Abélard wanted to be rid of Héloïse, had him castrated, effectively ending Abélard's romantic career. Héloïse was forced to become a nun. Héloïse sent letters to Abélard, questioning why she must submit to a religious life for which she had no calling.
In The Lost Love Letters of Héloïse and Abélard, a set of 113 anonymous love letters found in a 15th century manuscript are said to represent the correspondence exchanged by Héloïse and Abelard during the earlier phase of their affair.
This edition is specially formatted with a Table of Contents and images of the legendary lovers.
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- Charles River Editors
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- Barnes & Noble
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