The Love Letters of Abelard and Heloise

Pierre Abélard (1079 - 1142) and Héloïse d'Argenteuil (c.1090 - 1164)
Translated by Anonymous

Heloise was a strong-willed and gifted woman who was fluent in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, and came from a lower social standing than Abelard. At age 19, and living under her uncle Fulbert's roof, Heloise fell in love with Abelard, who she was studying under. Not only did they have a clandestine affair of a sexual nature, they had a child, Astrolabe, out of wedlock. Discovered by the Fulbert (who was a Church official), Abelard was assaulted by a hired thug and castrated, and Heloise entered a convent. Abelard was exiled to Brittany, where he lived as monk. Eventually Heloise became abbess of the Oratory of the Paraclete, an abbey which Abelard had founded.

It was at this time that they exchanged their famous letters, presented in this book. The letters, originally written in Latin, are passionate both in the remembrance of lost love, and the attempt to reconcile that love with their respective monastic duty to remain chaste. The tension between these two poles generates a huge amount of emotional electricity. (Summary by J. B. Hare)

Genre(s): Romance

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 00 Introduction icyjumbo (1964-2010)
Play 01 01 Letter I. - Abelard to Philintus icyjumbo (1964-2010)
Play 02 02 Letter II. - Heloise to Abelard Laura Koskinen
Play 03 03 Letter III. - Abelard to Heloise icyjumbo (1964-2010)
Play 04 04 Letter IV. - Heloise to Abelard Laura Koskinen
Play 05 05 Letter V. - Heloise to Abelard Laura Koskinen
Play 06 06 Letter VI. - Abelard to Heloise icyjumbo (1964-2010)
Play 07 07 Pope's Epistle. - "Eloisa to Abelard" icyjumbo (1964-2010)
Play 08 08 From W. E. Henly's Prologue to Beau Austin icyjumbo (1964-2010)