Heloise and the Consolation of Friendship

  • Brian Patrick McGuire
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


In the mid-1980s when I was working on a book concerning friendship in monastic life in the Middle Ages, I deliberately left out the relationship between Abelard and Heloise.1 I did not even try to consider whether their bond was one of friendship. At the time it seemed too problematic to delve into the question of their love affair, the witness of the letters and their authenticity, as well as the monastic element in their relationship. In what follows here I want to answer this unasked question of friendship and look at it in terms of the concept of consolation.2 I can do so only in fear and trembling, for the letters of Abelard and Heloise, the foundation of any speculation about the relationship of the two, have in the last decades been one of the most controversial areas of medieval studies.3


Religious Life Twelfth Century Love Affair Late Antiquity Religious Woman 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Bonnie Wheeler 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Patrick McGuire

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations