Vive la France!

August 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’ve recently returned from Paris, so for the next few posts I’ll be tying them into my visit. One of the places I visited was Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in which Heloise and Abelard were buried, as well as Jim Morrison, Chopin, & Oscar Wilde, among many other famous people.

Heloise & Abelard: Famous lovers in history. Their letters exist today as a study of romantic love as well as a study of the medieval mind. They wrote to each other throughout their lifetimes and were finally buried together.

Abelard (1079-1142) . . . was arguably the first modern thinker…. Heloise (1101-1164) . . . was an unusually well-educated young woman, the pride of her uncle canon Fulbert. Abelard, attracted by her reputation, made use of his own to persuade Fulbert to let him give her lessons, and then to persuade his pupil to turn these lessons into a more agreeable form of activity (We exchanged more kisses than learned propositions; my hands returned more often to her bosom than to our books.) The uncle was not happy on discovering their relationship, which led to a child named Astrolabe–a high-tech name if there ever was one! Although they married–against Heloise’s will, for she preferred the title of lover to that of wife–Abelard kept the marriage secret and sent Heloise off to a convent; this was the time when a church career was becoming incompatible with marriage. Interpreting this situation as a disgrace for his niece, Fulbert sent his men to [castrate Abelard].  (Eric Gans, “Chronicles of Love and Resentment“)

Watch this short clip from Films on Demand about their tragic story.

Learn More! (It’s exciting!):

The letters of Heloise and Abelard : a translation of their collected correspondence and related writings 

The story of my misfortunes; the autobiography of Peter Abélard

The Song of songs ; Letters of Heloise and Abelard [sound recording]

The immortal lovers: Heloise and Abelard


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