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Abelard & Heloise
Part 1.( 2 of 2)
Abelard says in his , 'Historia Calamitatum' , an autobiographical treatise,written around 1132, at the age of 54, that he began to think of himself as the only philosopher in the World and that he "yielded to lusts of the flesh". He then says that in Paris, there was a young girl named Heloise, the niece of Canon Fulbert who looked after her and had done everything in his power to advance her education in letters. "..... in looks she did not rank lowest, while in the extent of her learning she ranked supreme A gift of letters is so rare in a woman that it added greatly to her charm and had won her renown throughout the realm. I considered all the attractions for a lover and decided she was the one to bring to my bed"....
( At this time, Heloise was about 17. Every credit is due to the nuns at Argenteuil for her early education, and to Fulbert for his encouragement of her remarkable gifts at a time when women were rarely educated at all).
Abelard convinces the very willing Fulbert that he, Abelard, should teach Heloise, and it would be far more convenient for him to live in Fulbert's household. Abelard then seduces Heloise.

Part 2  Introduction
An intensive love affair, between the two continued until Heloise became pregnant. Abelard took her to Brittainy , where their son, Astralabe, was born. They then returned to Paris and Fulbert's house, then secretly married
Abelard then made a disasterous mistake by removing Heloise from Fulbert's house to the nunnery at Argenteuil. Fulbert, very reasonably assumed that Abelard was now getting rid of his most beloved Heloise by making her a nun, and concocted a vengeful plan against Abelard, whereby his servants attacked and castrated Abelard.
Abelard, at first deeply mortified at his condition, hid from view, but then joined the Abbey of St Denis. in 1119, (his wounds barely healed), where he was made to take up his first love of teaching eager, questioning, young minds. However, following trouble with the unreformed monks of St Denis, persecution by his old rivals,and condemnation at the Council of Soissons, in 1121, he fled to a hermitage, close to Troyes, to which his students joined him and built the oratory, Abelard named, The Paraclete, But he was apprehensive of further charges of heresy, and in 1126, accepted an invitation to become abbot of the remote monastery of St Gildas de Rhuys, on Brittany's west coast.
Around 1128, Abelard found out that Heloise had become Prioress of Argenteuil but together with her nuns had been expelled by the new abbey owner, the now abbot of St Denis.
Abelard travelled from St Gildas to Argentueil ( about 360 miles) to transfer the Paraclete to Heloise, and there they met after being separated for ten years. They had further, formal, meetings, whilst the transfer was being made.
In 1132, Abelard wrote his, 'Historia Calamitatum', and it was sometime after that date that Heloise was given a copy.
Thus commenced a series of letters between the two of them......




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