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Abelard and Heloise$
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Constant J. Mews

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195156881

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195156889.001.0001

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Heloise and Discussion about Love

Heloise and Discussion about Love

Chapter:
(p.58) 4 Heloise and Discussion about Love
Source:
Abelard and Heloise
Author(s):

Constant J. Mews (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195156889.003.0005

Heloise and Discussion about Love. This chapter examines the significance of the early love affair of Abelard and Heloise. It argues that this relationship was not simply a matter of fornication portrayed by Abelard in the Historia calamitatum. Drawing on the Epistolae duorum amantium, which I argue is a record of an early exchange between Abelard and Heloise, I explain that Heloise wanted to apply Ciceronian ideals of friendship to love between a man and a woman. At her request, Abelard did endeavor to define friendship in terms based on Cicero, but he never developed her interest in true friendship as not seeking any personal reward. His love letters are more strongly influenced by a passionate ideal of love, inspired by the poetry of Ovid.

Keywords:   Abelard, Heloise, friendship, love, Cicero, Ovid, love letters

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