“You know, beloved, as the whole world knows, how much I have lost in you, how at one wretched stroke of fortune that supreme act of flagrant treachery robbed me of my very self in robbing me of you.”
(Letter, Heloïse to Abelard)

Theologian and philosopher Abelard (1079–1142) became tutor to 17-year-old Heloïse (1101–1164). In one of history's tragic stories, they fell in love, Heloïse gave birth to a son and they married. In revenge, Heloïse's scandalized family robbed Abelard of his manhood. In sorrow, Abelard became a monk and Heloïse took the veil. They wrote love letters to each other from their monastic quarters. When Heloïse died she was buried next to Abelard. Their story so gripped the imagination that in 1817 they were moved to Père Lachaise, a pilgrimage site for lovers.
“You know, beloved, as the whole world knows, how much I have lost in you, how at one wretched stroke of fortune that supreme act of flagrant treachery robbed me of my very self in robbing me of you.”
(Letter, Heloïse to Abelard)

Theologian and philosopher Abelard (1079–1142) became tutor to 17-year-old Heloïse (1101–1164). In one of history's tragic stories, they fell in love, Heloïse gave birth to a son and they married. In revenge, Heloïse's scandalized family robbed Abelard of his manhood. In sorrow, Abelard became a monk and Heloïse took the veil. They wrote love letters to each other from their monastic quarters. When Heloïse died she was buried next to Abelard. Their story so gripped the imagination that in 1817 they were moved to Père Lachaise, a pilgrimage site for lovers.

© 2004, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Histoire d'Heloïse et d'Abeilard

In Charlotte Charrier, Héloïse dans l'histoire et dans la légende (Paris: Honoré Champion, 1933) :pl. 32.

Artist: Fabrique de Pellerin, Photo Credit: Corey Chimko
Provincial Museum of Alberta.

Ink on newsprint[?]
© Provincial Museum of Alberta.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:

  • Appraise how authors have portrayed romantic love in literary works from ancient times to the 1800’s
  • Explain how the notion of romantic love has been portrayed in different cultures over time
  • Describe how romantic love has been an inspiration that has influenced literature in most cultures through the ages.

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