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The Letters of Abelard and Heloise (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)

By: Peter Abelard, Heloise

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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.

Short Desription

The story of Abelard and Heloise remains one of the world’s most dramatic and well-known love affairs. It is told through the letters of French philosopher Peter Abelard and his gifted pupil Heloise. 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 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.

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