Monday, May 7, 2012

The Tragic Love Story Between Abelard and Heloise

"You know, beloved, as the whole world knows, how much I have lost in you, how at one wretched stroke of fortune that supreme act of flagrant treachery robbed me of my very self in robbing me of you; and how my sorrow for my loss is nothing compared with what I feel for the manner in which I lost you."
The Love Letters of Abelard and Heloise

Pierre Abelard was a medieval French scholastic philosopher, theologian and preeminent logician. The love story he had with his pupil Héloïse d’Argenteuil is very beautiful but like all beautiful love stories, it is tragic. He was born in the village Le Pallet and was encouraged by his father to study liberal arts; he was very good at dialectic which was based on Aristotle’s logic. He became a teacher and traveled the country debating and learning but eventually stopped in Notre Dame where he became canon.

The romance that was about to change his life started when he was most famous; he was 40 years old and was teaching in Notre Dame when he started tutoring Héloïse d’Argenteuil, who was only 17 years old. She was living with her uncle, the canon Flubert and she had a brilliant mind as she spoke lating, greek and hebrew. He seduced Héloïse who ultimately became pregnant and gave birth to their son Astrolabe. What interfered with his career was the fact that he started boasting his conquest among different people. Flubert learned about this affair and prohibited Héloïse to meet her lover; but this didn’t keep them from seeing each other in secret.

"My tears, which I could not refrain, have blotted half your letter; I wish they had effaced the whole, and that I had returned it to you in that condition; I should then have been satisfied with the little time I kept it; but it was demanded of me too soon. " Source

After giving birth to their son in Brittany, she came back to Paris and married her lover in secret. Obviously, the members of her family opposed marriage with him and when they found out about this they attacked and castrated him while he was sleeping.

Héloïse had to become a nun while Abelard became a monk at St.Dennis Monastery. There is a great collection of letters between them, 113 anonymous love letters from an early phase of their love and another bunch that was written between them fifteen years after their romance ended. They are not just an expression of love but also thought provoking writings between two extremely intelligent people.


  1. LOL!!!
    I think "true love" is nothing more than animalistic breeding instincts forcefully asserting themselves, so emotional love stories are always hilarious to me. From an evolutionary standpoint, our ability to fall out of love is just as important as our ability to fall into it, as that's what keeps us spreading our seed around to lots of different people to keep genetic-diversity humming along.
    I've experienced personally how powerfully deluding neurotransmitters like oxytocin are once they enter the system though; it's just a horrifying process of overriding logic in order to justify breeding urges, and I do hope I never experience it again. I don't think I will though at my age, praise the lord.

    This was the funniest part to me though:
    "What interfered with his career was the fact that he started boasting his conquest among different people."
    Man, guys just can't ever keep their mouths shut about it! The more potentially damaging the admission is to himself or (more often) to the lady involved, the louder he will have to shout it from the rooftops. Stupid fucking men!

    As far as I can tell, this gossiping, prickless, stupid fucking Prick got exactly what he deserved, so I found this story hysterically funny rather than tragic, and it made my day.

    1. Yeah, I guess you are right, it was more funny than tragic. An old man boasting about his 17 year old lover like a high school student; but he was a philosopher, maybe he was a bit immature in the relationship area.

    2. LOL, it is my sad admission that Love, or more accurately, 'Oxytocin-Poisoning', has the power to turn anyone, even the most intellectually advanced or socially experienced, even a crusty old crone like myself, into an immature, blithering idiot, so perhaps I shouldn't judge him so harshly--but I do anyway, because I'm a bitch. :)

    3. Evolution fucking us up so that we breed. "Oh I love him so much, I want to have his babies, I'd do anything, etc" sort of shit.

    4. You are allowed to judge and be hypocritical, it's a free world and fuck whoever is judging you, they are hypocritical too because they are humans. And nobody reads this blog anyway so nobody will be judging....

    5. LOL, I'm too lazy to start a blog, which is why I just comment on other peoples', but if I start one, I'm naming it "Furious Tendency", in honor of you.

    6. :))) that's actually a good name