Eileen C. Poetics Today 1 June ; 28 2 : — In this essay, I offer an interpretation of Abelard's Historia Calamitatum and letters exchanged with Heloise, arguing that both are informed by the attempt to look below the surfaces of language, self, and action to a reality beneath and to achieve authenticity, by which I mean coherence between surface and depth. This reading shows an emerging sense of self and self-knowledge based on the relationship between external act and internal intention. While using traditional medieval narrative forms, I argue, Abelard gives his story a modern-sounding autobiographical twist: that its moral is about matching outer to inner self. While the project is never complete, the search itself becomes an identity; Abelard achieves authenticity in his rejection of all the models of it that were available to him.

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Peter Abelard's autobiography, the Historia calamitatum , is one of the best-known medieval texts, especially because of the story of his love for Heloise which it recounts. In recent decades, there was so much controversy about the authenticity of the documents concerning Abelard and Heloise that the critical interpretation of the texts was relegated to the sidelines.

The present volume provides a way out of this impasse. In it, the famous text is subjected to a series of exemplary analyses from the perspectives of seven different 20th century literary theories aesthetics of reception, Foucault, Gender Studies, Rhetorical Stylistic Analysis, Psychology of Literature, Cultural Studies, Deconstruction. The analyses are preceded by the Latin text of the Historia calamitatum with a modern German translation.

This is thus the first time that the Historia calamitatum has been presented in a bilingual edition. Open Access. About Us. English Deutsch. Sign In Create Profile. Advanced Search Help. Subject Areas Subject Areas. Series: de Gruyter Texte. Edited by: Dag Nikolaus Hasse. Overview Contents Peter Abelard's autobiography, the Historia calamitatum , is one of the best-known medieval texts, especially because of the story of his love for Heloise which it recounts. Author Information.

More by Dag Nikolaus Hasse. Details Edition: Reprint Language: Latin, German Format: Sign Up. Primary occupation.

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Historia Calamitatum: The Story of My Misfortunes

Summary Read this work. In his touching autobiography, heralded philosopher and theologian Peter Abelard reveals the most intimate details of his life marred by betrayal and persecution. Abelard tells of a philosophical rivalry with his dear friend and teacher, William de Champeaux, which tragically ended their close relationship. He tells of his deep romantic love with his student Heloise, and of how their romance enraged Heloise's uncle, who later inflicted upon Abelard the cruelest physical torture. Abelard tells of how he abandoned philosophy in hopes of finding solace in the monastery, where he was only further slandered by his peers for his progressive theology. At the close of his autobiography, Abelard shares the words of the Apostle Paul, by which Abelard found solace during his troubled life: "I do not seek to please men.

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Peter Abelard was one of the great intellectuals of the 12th century, with especial importance in the field of logic. His tendency to disputation is perhaps best demonstrated by his book Sic et Non , a list of philosophical and theological questions about which there were divided opinions. This dialectical method of intellectual reflection -- also seen in Gratian's approach to canon law -- was to become an important feature of western education and distinguishes it sharply from other world cultures such as Islam and the Confucian world. Abelard's mistake was to leave the questions open for discussion and so he was repeatedly charged with heresy.

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