Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


The letters of Heloise (1101 - 1162) and Pierre Abelard are among the best known records of early romantic love. Although Heloise was a highly educated young woman, not a great deal is known of her immediate family except that in her letters she implies she is of a lower social standing than Abelard, who was from the nobility. What is known is that she was the ward of an uncle, a canon in Paris, and by the age of 18 she was the student of one of the most popular teachers and philosophers in Paris, Pierre Abelard.

In his writings, Abelard tells the story of his seduction of Heloise, their marriage, the birth of a son, Astrolabius English, ("Astrolabe"), and of his castration, after which Heloise entered a convent. After that, they did not meet for 10 years, and he died in 1142. Heloise continued as Abbess of the Oratory of the Paraclete located near Troyes, France, until her death in 1162. She left no other published materials besides her legendary correspondence to Pierre Abelard.

She is buried next to Abelard at the Paraclete, but a special monument was erected to them at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.