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The Medieval Idea of Marriage$
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Christopher N. L. Brooke

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205043

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205043.001.0001

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The Correspondence of Heloise and Abelard 1

The Correspondence of Heloise and Abelard 1

(p.93) 4 The Correspondence of Heloise and Abelard1
The Medieval Idea of Marriage

Christopher N. L. Brooke

Oxford University Press

In the 11th and 12th centuries, most intellectuals were dedicated to chastity and asceticism. For them, the path to heaven lay through the cloisters while the path to hell lay with the intermingling of the sexes. This chapter focuses on the letters and correspondence of Heloise and Abelard who were caught between by their affection and their devotion to spirituality. In this chapter, the paradox of the ascetic ideal and the ideal marriage are discussed within the context of the letters of Heloise and Abelard. These correspondences from the Historia Calamitatum to the responses on Heloise, the eternity of human love and the difficulties posed by marriage is discussed within the boundaries set about their spiritual calling and life.

Keywords:   chastity, asceticism, letters, correspondence, Heloise, Abelard, spirituality, Historia Calamitatum, love, marriage

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