Monday, April 6, 2009

A Tragic Love Story ...

I saw a movie many years ago (Stealing Heaven) about this couple Abelard and Heloise. I don't know if I'd appreciate cinematography from 1988 anymore, but I loved the story and I've never forgotten it.

From Wikipedia ...
Heloise was the ward of an uncle, a canon in Paris named Fulbert. By some point in her life, probably already as a teenager, she was renowned throughout Western Europe for her scholarship, and she became the student of Peter Abelard, who was one of the most popular teachers and philosophers in Paris.


In his writings, Abelard tells the story of his seduction of Héloïse and their subsequent illicit relationship, which they continued until Héloïse bore him a son, whom Héloïse named Astrolabe. Abelard secretly married Héloïse, but both of them tried to conceal this fact in order not to damage Abelard's career. Fulbert's ensuing violence against Heloise caused Abelard to place her in the convent of Argenteuil.

The accepted view is that Fulbert believed Abélard abandoned Héloïse, and, in his anger, wreaked vengeance upon Abelard by having him attacked while asleep and castrated. After castration, Abelard became a monk and Heloise a nun.

According to historian Constant Mews in his The Lost Love Letters of Héloïse and Abélard, a set of 113 anonymous love letters found in a fifteenth century manuscript represent the correspondence exchanged by Héloïse and Abelard during the earlier phase of their affair.

This is where they may (or may not) be buried as the location of their remains is uncertain and disputed. Hundreds of years later, people from all over the world travel to visit the tomb. I hesitate to say its beautiful since it is a crypt after all, but it seems like a lovely resting place. I had hoped to see this when I was in Paris, but time did not permit. Maybe someday ...



  1. Oh! Melanie!! Thank you!
    This is a beautiful movie!!
    I Can't Believe that you posted about this movie!!!!This is the movie that I would recommend my teenage daughter to watch!!
    I was most fascinated by that it's based on a real story. I also recommend you to read "The Letters of Abelard and Heloise" edited by Michael Clanchy and Betty Radice.
    Great posting!!!!
    Have a good one, Melanie!

  2. I'm a sucker for a good love story. I wonder if this movie is out in video.

  3. Too funny that you've seen this movie Suzie! It was obscure even when I saw it years ago! I remember the actress who played Heloise was a beautiful red-head.

    Kathy, the movie is so old and it is not available on DVD. However, you may be able to rent it on VHS and it seems you can buy a used copy on Amazon starting around $15.


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