A French Love Story: Abelard and Heloise
Let's start with the lesser-known story of Abelard & Heloise, the Parisian Romeo & Juliet.
Abelard and Heloise's story began when Abelard became Heloise's tutor. Despite their significant age difference, they soon fell deeply in love and started a secret affair. Their relationship was a scandal in 12th-century Paris, as Abelard was a respected intellectual and religious figure, and Heloise was the niece of a powerful canon.
Despite the risks, Abelard and Heloise were deeply committed to each other, and their love affair flourished. When Heloise became pregnant, Abelard arranged for the two to marry secretly. However, their romance was discovered by Heloise's uncle, who was furious about the scandal. In retaliation, he had Abelard castrated and sent him into hiding. Heloise was then forced into a convent, where she became a nun.
Despite the physical separation, Abelard and Heloise continued to correspond through letters. In these letters, they expressed their undying love and devotion to each other and discussed philosophy, religion, and their experiences. The letters were later collected and published, becoming a literary sensation and cementing their story as one of the great love stories in history.
I will share a link to their love letters in today's Instagram story. Or you can search for "Project Gutenberg's Letters of Abelard and Heloise, by Pierre Bayle."
Their tomb can be found at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, in the 7th division.