On the Bridling of the Body and Soul of Héloise, The ‘Chaste Whore’

  • Laura FrenchEmail author
Part of the Studies in the History of Philosophy of Mind book series (SHPM, volume 15)


Héloise, a twelfth century scholar and abbess, wrote a series of personal letters to her estranged husband, Abelard, exploring the crisis of her identity which had come about because of their relationship. Héloise’s obedience to Abelard required a new public identity of her—a pious and chaste nun, and later, abbess—personas which necessitated the suppression of significant aspects of her original self, as well as the true needs of her body and soul. In these letters, Héloise gives voice to her suppressed desires, while expressing acute moral discomfort at living what she perceives to be a false and hypocritical life for the sake of love.


Heloise d’Argenteuil letters Heloise and Abelard Medieval women philosophers History of love ideology Love and personal identity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia

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