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1 Hawthorne Classics- Medieval and Renaissance General

Letters of Abelard & Heloise

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Letters of Abelard & Heloise Cover

ISBN13: 9780140442977
ISBN10: 0140442979
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The story of Heloise and Abelard remains one of the worldÆs most celebrated and tragic love affairs.

Despite their misfortunes, these staunch Christians, as their letters reveal, found a path through self-pity into acceptance of a changed but lasting relationship. Whilst Heloise attained fame for her learning and administrative genius as an abbess, Abelard became an inspired teacher in Paris and the foremost logician of his day.

This translation includes AbelardÆs account of his misfortunes (Historica calamitatum); four of their personal letters; the æletters of DirectionÆ, in which he advises her how to adapt for women the rule of Benedict; correspondence between Heloise and Peter the Venerable; and two of AbelardÆs hymns.

Synopsis:

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.

About the Author

Peter Abelard (1079 &1142) was the greatest logician of the twelfth century. He taught in Paris, where Heloise (1101 &1164) was his pupil when they met.

Betty Radice was editor of the Penguin Classics during the 1960 &70s and an acclaimed translator from Latin, Greek, and Italian.

M. T. Clanchy researches at the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London.

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rolandoberson, October 5, 2009 (view all comments by rolandoberson)
Letters of Abelard & Heloise
by Abelard and Radice


Radice’s text is for me one of the best translation we may consult when trying to follow and understand Abelard’s and Heloise’s tragic history. I would say it is the best one in English, not because I do not respect the others, but because it is easy to read in a fluent language, which facilitates the lecture of the account of a miserable personal drama. No wonder that it is also the most looked up crib on this subject for the whole world. For everybody who wishes to get to the bottom of the mysteries surrounding such a wounded love, it is a must.
The story of their misfortunes is not simple. More you are reading, more you question yourself. Radice’s transcription from the twelfth Latin, by its clarity, helps a lot to disentangle the many allusions incorporated in the text. Exposing their proper suffering, the heroes actually are exposing themselves to the condemnation of the Church. They have to concede what was not possible to confess. Now that we have to understand what is hidden in Abelard’s words – Aberlard, master of dialectics, – and what her highly talented schoolgirl – not more than fourteen years old – had to utter for proclaiming her innocence, we need to consult a highly precise translation. Radice’s one. But also what, at the same time, Heloise had to express for convincing us that she provoked the damage. But, for being untimely pregnant, she definitively considered herself as having involuntarily and unconsciously injured love to death. She was harmful and pernicious. However she could not be considered guilty. She expresses her infliction in an inconsolable longing.
Reading Radice’s version will strongly help receptive persons to understand what kind of injury precipitated the death of human love – an unity of physical and spiritual love – between two learnt persons so madly in love. Of course Heloise got the necessary instructions and prescriptions from her master, twelve years later – when redacting her letters – about what could be given word in a most ambiguous way when telling the truth without telling it. But she were able to compete with the master due to her unusual and impressive intelligence. Radice delivers the message we have to elaborate ourselves if we are really wanting to follow the fantastic master and all the calamities he suffered for erasing hers.
So I read it again and again. I consider Radice’s book as one of the best reference. I consult it whenever it is necessary to clear up any difficulty. Even when she seems not quite right it is worthwhile to reconsider her interpretation. We realize we are in front of something very special and splendidly rendered in English.

Roland Oberson is the author of several books in French about Heloise and Abelard. He is intending to understand what has really occurred between the special master of arts, Abelard – a genius -- and his singular slave, Heloise. He could not without often making reference to Radice’s translation.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780140442977
Author:
Radice, Betty
Author:
Abelard, Peter
Author:
Radice, Betty
Author:
Clanchy, Michael
Author:
Heloise
Publisher:
Penguin Classics
Location:
Harmondsworth
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Novels and novellas
Subject:
Continental european
Subject:
Renaissance
Subject:
Theologians
Subject:
Heloise
Subject:
Theologians -- France -- Correspondence.
Subject:
Abbesses, Christian.
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
Letters
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Bibliography: p. 296-297.
Series:
Penguin Classics
Series Volume:
v. 233
Publication Date:
19740530
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
French
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
7.71x5.06x.61 in. .48 lbs.

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Product details 320 pages PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE - English 9780140442977 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , 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.
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