literature

Abelard and Héloïse

Last night, I ordered a book called “The Letters of  Abelard and Héloïse”. It tells the story of a pair of star-crossed lovers from 900 years ago, and contains the correspondence between a monk and a nun that are in love with each other. All the letters are written after they both devote themselves to a life in the Church, but there is so much more to the story.

If you’d like to read the collection of letters, you can find it in its entirety on Project Gutenberg, or here, at sacred-texts.com, of which I prefer because the letters are indexed and link-able.

I recommend reading the first letter in its entirety, from Abelard to Philintus, in order to get an overview of the events that transpire, and to get a feel for the writing and decide whether you want to continue. I found myself enamored of the prose from this letter, and it wasn’t even a letter between Abelard and Héloïse. This is why I bought the book.

Some of my favorite quotes from the first 10 or so pages:

Till now I thought philosophy made us masters of all our passions, and that it was a refuge from the storms in which weak mortals are tossed and shipwrecked.

 

Pleasures tasted sparingly and with difficulty have always a higher relish, whilst everything that is easy and common grows stale and insipid.

 

…but can you be sure marriage will not be the tomb of her love?

 

 Perhaps by mingling my sighs with yours I may make your sufferings less, for it is said that all sorrows divided are made lighter.

My book arrives soon, and I’m excited to start it!

Do you have any books to recommend? Leave them in the comments, I’d love to check them out!

 

 

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