A medieval love affair


There are two very fine introductory essays at the beginning of this Penguin edition. The translator Betty Radice writes a useful introduction to the collection of letters, and M. T. Clanchy provides an interesting update on the fate of the letters in his "The Letters of Abelard and Heloise in Today's Scholarship."

Abelard and Heloise,

Letters of Abelard and Heloise,

Penguin Classics,

ISBN 0140448993

"Historia Calamitatum" pp. 3–43

"Personal Letters" pp. 47–89


For those of you who get caught up in the drama of Abelard and Heloise and want to read more about their story there is one great classic study from one of the most important French Medieval historians of all time, Etienne Gilson. It is a small, rich book based on lectures Gilson delivered in Paris in 1936 and thanks to the University of Michigan Press it is still in print. Especially interesting is the detailed analysis Gilson provides for our proper understanding of the marriage and why it was a mistake for Abelard in relation to his career as a professor of theology.

Ethienne Gilson,

Heloise and Abelard,

Ann Arbor: University of Michican paperback,

ISBN 0472060384