The Lost Love Letters of Heloise and Abelard: Perceptions of Dialogue in Twelfth-Century France

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Palgrave Macmillan, Apr 7, 2001 - History - 378 pages
2 Reviews
This book examines a medieval text long neglected by most scholars. The Lost Love Letters of Heloise and Abelard looks at the earlier correspondence between these two famous individuals, revealing the emotions and intimate exchanges that occurred between them. The perspectives presented here are very different from the view related by Abelard in his "History of My Calamities," an account which provoked a much more famous exchange of letters between Heloise and Abelard after they had both entered religious life. Offering a full translation of the love letters along with a copy of the actual Latin text, Mews provides an in-depth analysis of the debate concerning the authenticity of the letters and look at the way in which the relationship between Heloise and Abelard has been perceived over the centuries. He also explores the political, literary, and religious contexts in which the two figures conducted their affair and offers new insights into Heloise as an astonishingly gifted writer, whose literary gifts were ultimately frustrated by the course of her relationship with her teacher.

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The lost love letters of Heloise and Abelard: perceptions of dialogue in twelfth-century France

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The illicit love affair between Abelard and Heloise was one of the most talked-about relationships in the Middle Ages. While the letters they wrote after both had become monastics have been well ... Read full review

Review: The Lost Love Letters of Heloise and Abelard: Perceptions of Dialogue in Twelfth-Century France (The New Middle Ages)

User Review  - James M. Madsen, MD - Goodreads

I have this book but haven't read *all* of it yet. There's pretty good evidence (discussed in the book) that these letters actually represent letters that Heloise and Abelard exchanged during their love affair. The letters reveal especially Heloise's erudition and gift for writing. Read full review

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About the author (2001)

Constant Mews teaches in the Department of History at Monash University in Australia, where he is also Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion.

Neville Chiavaroli, a classicist and Italian translator, is a doctoral student in the Department of History at Monash University.

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