The Love Letters of Abelard and Heloise


Read by LibriVox Volunteers

(4.8 stars; 6 reviews)

Heloise was a strong-willed and gifted woman who was fluent in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, and came from a lower social standing than Abelard. At age 19, and living under her uncle Fulbert's roof, Heloise fell in love with Abelard, who she was studying under. Not only did they have a clandestine affair of a sexual nature, they had a child, Astrolabe, out of wedlock. Discovered by the Fulbert (who was a Church official), Abelard was assaulted by a hired thug and castrated, and Heloise entered a convent. Abelard was exiled to Brittany, where he lived as monk. Eventually Heloise became abbess of the Oratory of the Paraclete, an abbey which Abelard had founded.

It was at this time that they exchanged their famous letters, presented in this book. The letters, originally written in Latin, are passionate both in the remembrance of lost love, and the attempt to reconcile that love with their respective monastic duty to remain chaste. The tension between these two poles generates a huge amount of emotional electricity. (Summary by J. B. Hare)

(3 hr 36 min)

Chapters

00 Introduction 4:18 Read by icyjumbo (1964-2010)
01 Letter I. - Abelard to Philintus 34:52 Read by icyjumbo (1964-2010)
02 Letter II. - Heloise to Abelard 45:25 Read by Laura Koskinen
03 Letter III. - Abelard to Heloise 32:42 Read by icyjumbo (1964-2010)
04 Letter IV. - Heloise to Abelard 27:16 Read by Laura Koskinen
05 Letter V. - Heloise to Abelard 26:27 Read by Laura Koskinen
06 Letter VI. - Abelard to Heloise 20:37 Read by icyjumbo (1964-2010)
07 Pope's Epistle. - "Eloisa to Abelard" 22:40 Read by icyjumbo (1964-2010)
08 From W. E. Henly's Prologue to Beau Austin 1:50 Read by icyjumbo (1964-2010)

Reviews

Some beautiful passages read with sentiment


(5 stars)

Themes of the agony of romantic attachments. It seemed as though Heloise was the more devoted and honorable of the two lovers while Abelard appeared selfish, vain and manipulative. I hope that his feelings where sincere for her and not only out of guilt and that there are honorable motives in him too.