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Peter Abelard, (1079-1142) was a scholastic philosopher and an extremely well distinguished teacher. Abelard falling in love with young Heloise led to his downfall. Teachers, which were all from the church at that time, were not allowed to marry.

Heloise was said to be very bright. Her knowledge extended beyond Latin, it is said, to Greek and Hebrew. Abelard tutored her and the two fell in love. When Heloise became pregnant, Abelard whisked her away from her uncle Fulbert and she gave birth to a son. Abelard promises to marry Heloise in secret so as to not mar his advancement in the church. Heloise refused to allow Abelard to sacrifice his career for her, and ran away to convent of Argenteuil. Uncle Fulbert, thinking that Heloises disappearance is due to Abelard wanting to get rid of her, hired some men to break into Abelard's chambers one night and castrated him. This puts and abrupt end to the love affair of Abelard and Heloise.

Abelard retires to the Abbey of St. Denis for some time, and Heloise becomes a nun so she can be closer to Abelard. During this time they write many letters to each other, and the collection of their correspondenses is now in a book The Letters of Abelard and Heloise.

Just as an aside, the "romance" was a bit darker than the above w/u. If you read Abelard's autobiography, you learn that he saw Heloise as another great conquest, only this one got him in trouble. He was reluctant to marry her, but did so because of their son Astrolabe. After he convinces her to become a nun, her never sees her again (despite the fact that she became an abbess at a religous colony he started, and the fact that she keeps inviting him), and his letters to her are very dry and unromantic--mostly telling her to not love him, to only love Christ, and to forget it ever happened. Heloise's letters, however, are humorous, passionate, and insightful, telling him how much she still loves him and would like to even be friends. He refuses, always telling her to remember her place as a woman, and forget that he is anything more than a brother in Christ.

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