Heloise and Abelard
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This paper analyzes "The Letters of Heloise and Abelard" by Betty Radice. It looks at the wide range of issues that the correspondence of Heloise and Abelard touch on, such as love and marriage, monasticism, scholarship and the consequences of family feuds. The paper also looks briefly at the characteristics of each lover as can be seen through their writing.
From the Paper:"The second letter, in which Heloise writes to Abelard asking why he has not written to her in ten years, is especially interesting in that it reveals that Heloise had little choice but to enter a convent in obedience to Abelard. (Radice 53) His advice to her about running the convent reflected the prevailing consensus that shipping women off to a convent if they got into any sort of trouble was the best way to deal with scandals, for it was commonly believed that life in a convent would eliminate the temptation to sin, instill piety and provide a religious environment conducive to repentance."
"Monasteries served the same purpose for men, and Abelard entered one for the same reasons he advised Heloise to enter a convent. But entering a monastery was voluntary for men and was not a coercive sanction imposed by society on men for sexual indiscretions. A pervasive double standard existed in medieval times, for men were not held by society to the same sexual standards as women. This double standard even extended to the clergy, who were not officially permitted to marry and were expected to be celibate. But many members of the clergy married anyway, and had mistresses, without suffering any consequences in the form of social ostracism or punitive action from the Vatican."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Radice, Betty. The Letters of Heloise and Abelard. New York: Penguin Classics, 2004.
Cite this Book Review:
Heloise and Abelard (2008, March 26) Retrieved January 27, 2021, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/heloise-and-abelard-102499/
"Heloise and Abelard" 26 March 2008. Web. 27 January. 2021. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/heloise-and-abelard-102499/>