The Letters of Abelard and Heloise

The Letters of Abelard and Heloise

Notes by:

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780140448993
  • 384 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


The story of Abelard and Heloise remains one of the world’s most dramatic and well-known love affairs. It is told through the letters of French philosopher Peter Abelard and his gifted pupil Heloise. Through their impassioned writings unfolds the story of a romance, from its reckless, ecstatic beginnings to the public scandal, enforced secret marriage, and devastating consequences that followed. These eloquent and intimate letters express a vast range of emotions from adoration and devotion to reproach, indignation, and grief, and offer a fascinating insight into religious life in the Middle Ages.

  • The landmark translation and introduction have bee thoughtfully revised and updated
  • Includes a recent essay on recent scholarship and bibliographical discoveries, suggestions for further reading, explanatory notes, maps, and index 

Table of Contents

Preface to the Revised Edition
The Letters of Abelard and Heloise in Today’s Scholarship
Further Reading

Letter 1. Historia calamitatum: Abelard to a Friend: The Story of His Misfortunes

The Personal Letters
Letter 2. Heloise to Abelard
Letter 3. Abelard to Heloise
Letter 4. Heloise to Abelard
Letter 5. Abelard to Heloise

The Letters of Direction
Letter 6. Heloise to Abelard
Letter 7. Abelard to Heloise (summarized)
Letter 8. Abelard to Heloise

Abelard’s Confession of Faith

Letters of Peter the Venerable and Heloise
Peter the Venerable: Letter (98) to Pope Innocent II
Peter the Venerable: Letter (115) to Heloise
Heloise: Letter (167) to Peter the Venerable
Peter the Venerable: Letter (168) to Heloise

Two Hymns by Abelard
Sabbato ad Vesperas
In Parasceve Domini: III. Nocturno

Appendix: An Excerpt from the ‘Lost Love Letter’ of Heloise and Abelard

The Kingdom of France in the time of Abelard
Paris in the time of Abelard


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