Show Notes: Abelard and Heloise

Tracy Wilson

Tomb of Abelard and Heloise, Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, Ile-De-France, France Photo by DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI/De Agostini/Getty Images

Abelard was a poet, philosopher and theologian who was born in 1079. Heloise was one of his students, who went on to become the respected abbess of a prominent community of nuns. That was after the event they're both most remembered for: their tragic love affair, which led both of them to take holy orders ... after Abelard was castrated by Heloise's vengeful uncle. Their bodies have also been repeatedly exhumed and re-buried and now lie in the tomb shown here.

It seemed like a good story for Valentine's time.

Our listener mail is Alicia, who writes about our Sei Shonagon episode.

For more knowledge: 10 of History's Most Torrid Love Affairs

Episode link: Abelard and Heloise

My research:

  • Abelard, Peter. "Historia Calamitatum." Translated by Henry Adams Bellows. Fordham University Medieval Sourcebook.
  • Feilla, Cecilia. "From 'Sainted Maid' to 'Wife in all her Grandeur': Translations of Heloise, 1687-1817." Eighteenth-century Life. Vol. 28, No. 2. Spring 2004.
  • Findley, Brooke Heidenrich. "Does the Habit Make the Nun? A Case Study of Heloise's Influence on Abelard's Ethical Philosphy." Vivarium. Vol. 44, vol. 2-3, 2006.
  • King, Peter, "Peter Abelard", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2010 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.),
  • Nye, Andrea. "A Woman's Thought or a Man's Discipline? The Letters of Abelard and Heloise." Hypatia. Vol. 7, No. 3. 1992.
  • Perrottet, Tony. "Casanova Slept Here." Smithsonian. Vol. 43 Issue 1. April 2012.
  • "Peter Abelard." Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.
  • Radice, Betty, ed. "The Letters of Abelard and Heloise." Penguin Books. 1974.
  • Shepard, Mary B. "A Tomb for Abelard and Heloise." Romance Studies. Vol. 25, No. 1. Jan 2007.
  • Tucker, Ruth A. "Heloise and Abelard's Tumultous Affair." Christian History. Vol. 10, Issue 2. 1991.

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