The Letters of Abélard and Héloïse ~ Pierre Abélard, Heloise

  • Title: The Letters of Abelard and Heloise
  • Author: Pierre Abelard, Heloise
  • Genre: Classic, Autobiography
  • Format: eBook
  • Source: Own Copy
  • Reviewer: Soo
  • Rating: 2 out of 5

Description:  The story of the relationship between Abélard and Héloïse is one of the world’s most celebrated and tragic love affairs. It is told through the letters of Peter Abélard, a French philosopher and one of the greatest logicians of the twelfth century, and of his gifted pupil Héloïse. Through their impassioned writings unfolds the story of a romance, from its reckless, ecstatic beginnings through to public scandal, an enforced secret marriage and its devastating consequences. 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.

This is the revised edition of Betty Radice’s highly regarded translation, in which Michael Clanchy, the biographer of Abélard, updates the scholarship on the letters and the lovers. This volume includes Abélard’s remarkable autobiography and his spiritual advice to Héloïse and her nuns, as well as a selection of the ‘lost love letters’ of Abélard and Héloïse, letters between Héloïse and Peter the Venerable, two of Abélard’s hymns, a chronology, notes and maps.

Review:  The story summation of Abelard and Heloise sounds interesting and beautiful in it’s fashion. I really enjoyed reading the beginning introduction. The letters are chock full of drama and syrupy puppy dog like enslavement to the idea of love. This story should be profound, deep and full of bittersweet moments. Instead, the deep emotions and thoughts that are expressed in the letters make me think less of the characters & the tragic affair. It reinforces my response to the Sonnets. High school drama at it’s nauseating worse. Except this is a biography and a true tale about two people.

Was I ever that dramatic? I hope not! Well, maybe I have but it’s not written in a book that anyone else would read. 😉