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Heloise and Abelard

Title: Love Hurts

Dates: 12th century Paris

Words to know:

Courtly Love- (Occitan: fin'amor [finaˈmuɾ]; French: amour courtois [amuʁ kuʁtwa]) was a medieval European literary conception of love that emphasized nobility and chivalry. Medieval literature is filled with examples of knights setting out on adventures and performing various deeds or services for ladies because of their "courtly love". This kind of love is originally a literary fiction created for the entertainment of the nobility, but as time passed, these ideas about love changed and attracted a larger audience. In the high Middle Ages, a "game of love" developed around these ideas as a set of social practices. "Loving nobly" was considered to be an enriching and improving practice.[1][2]



1079: Birth of Peter Abelard at Le Pallet in Brittanyc. 1090: Birth of Heloise in or near Parisc. 1100: Abelard taught by William of Champeaux at cathedral school in Parisc. 1102–c. 1105: Abelard master at Melun and then at Corbeilc. 1105–c. 1108: Abelard returns home to Brittanyc. 1108: Abelard returns to Paris to study with William of Champeaux at St. Victorc. 1112: Abelard again returns to Brittany1113: Abelard taught by Anselm of Laonc. 1114: Abelard returns to Paris as master at cathedral schoolc. 1116: Abelard lodges in the house of Fulbert Affair of Heloise and Abelard

c. 1117: Heloise in Brittany, birth of Astralabe Marriage of Heloise and Abelard in Paris Castration of Abelard Heloise becomes a nun at St. Marie in Argenteuil Abelard becomes a monk at St. Denisc. 1119: Abelard resumes teaching1121: Abelard’s Theology condemned and burned at Council of Soissons Abelard flees St. Denis for Provinsc. 1122: Abelard founds hermitage of the Paraclete, resumes teachingc. 1127: Abelard becomes abbot of St. Gildas of Rhuys in Brittany1129: Heloise and her nuns expelled from Argenteuil, accept Abelard’s gift of Paraclet 1131 (Nov. 28): Charter of Innocent II takes Heloise and her nuns under papal protectionc. 1132: Composition of the Calamities Beginning of correspondence of Heloise and Abelardc. 1135: Abelard returns to Paris as master of school at church of St. Geneviève1140: Abelard accused of heresy by Bernard of Clairvaux at Council of Sens, sentenced to perpetual silence as a heretic by Innocent II, taken under the protection of Peter the Venerable at Cluny1142 (April 21): Abelard dies at Cluniac priory of St. Marcellus near Chalon-sur-Saône1144? (Nov. 16): Abelard buried at the Paraclete 1163/64? (May 16): Death of Heloise, burial next to Abelardc. 1285: French translation of letters of Heloise and Abelard by Jean de Meun1497: Reburial of Heloise and Abelard in new church at Paraclete1616: First printed edition of Latin texts of Heloise and Abelard1675: Beginning of vogue for “imposter texts”; French versions of the letters of Heloise and Abelard circulating from 1687; others published in 1693, 1695, 1697, 1703, 1711, etc.1713: English translation of “imposter texts” by John Hughes, very often reprinted through the 1940s, inspiring many imitations1792: Reburial of Heloise and Abelard in church of St. Laurent at Nogent Dissolution of Paraclete and sale of its properties1800: Transfer of remains of Heloise and Abelard to a museum in Paris; some remains distributed as relics to devotees 1817:Transfer of remains of Heloise and Abelard to Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris

Dull is the star once bright with grace

In my heart’s dark cloud.

Faded is the smile from my face,

With no joy endowed.

Justly I grieve,

For though it is near, hidden to me

Is the tender, blossoming tree

To which I cleave.

In love this lovely girl outshines

Every other one.

Her name reflects the beaming lines

Of Helios the Sun.

She is the mirror

Of the sky. In her I rejoice.

She is my life, my only choice,

Now and forever.

I rue the time, each day, each hour,

Of my solitude,

I who nightly pulsed with power,

With such aptitude

For kissing lips

That breathe with spices when they part,

And from which, to bewitch the heart,

Sweet cassia drips.

She wastes away and is without

Hope of nourishment.

Her youth’s flower withers with drought.

May this banishment

In reparation

Be annulled, and be it guaranteed

That life together will succeed

This separation.

—translated by Stanley Lombardo

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