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Eloisa to Abelard


Alexander Pope Libri


Eloisa to Abelard was a verse epistle by Alexander Pope that was based on a well-known Mediaeval story and published in 1717. Its immediate fame resulted in a large number of imitations throughout the rest of the century and other poems more loosely based on its themes thereafter. ?Eloisa to Abelard? is an Ovidian heroic epistle inspired by the 12th-century story of Hlose d?Argenteuil?s illicit love for, and secret marriage to, her teacher Peter Abelard, a famous Parisian philosopher some twenty years her senior. After their affair and marriage, her family took brutal vengeance on Abelard and castrated him, following which he entered a monastery and compelled Hlose to become a nun. Both then led comparatively successful monastic careers. Years later, Abelard completed the Historia Calamitatum (History of misfortunes), cast as a letter of consolation to a friend. When it fell into Heloise?s hands, her passion for him was reawakened and there was an exchange of four letters between them written in an ornate Latin style. In an effort to make sense of their personal tragedy, these explored the nature of human and divine love.
 
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