The Story of My Misfortunes (or: Historia Calamitatum)

Pierre Abélard (1079 - 1142)
Translated by Henry Adams Bellows (1803 - 1873)

Autobiographies from remote historical periods can be especially fascinating. Modes of self-presentation vary greatly across the centuries, as of course does the very concept of Self.

Peter Abelard, the medieval philosopher and composer, here gives a concise but vivid survey of his notoriously calamitous life. The work is couched in the form of a letter to an afflicted friend. Abelard's abrasively competitive, often arrogant personality emerges at once in the brief Foreword, where he informs his correspondent: "(I)n comparing your sorrows with mine, you may discover that yours are in truth nought.. and so shall you come to bear them the more easily." (Summary by Martin Geeson)

Genre(s): Memoirs

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 Foreword, Chapters I-V Martin Geeson
Play 02 Chapters VI, VII Martin Geeson
Play 03 Chapters VIII, IX Martin Geeson
Play 04 Chapters X-XII Martin Geeson
Play 05 Chapters XIII-XV Martin Geeson