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Historia Calamitatum

Peter Abelard

Book Overview: 

Autobiographies from remote historical periods can be especially fascinating. Modes of self-presentation vary greatly across the centuries, as of course does the very concept of Self.

Peter Abelard, the medieval philosopher and composer, here gives a concise but vivid survey of his notoriously calamitous life. The work is couched in the form of a letter to an afflicted friend. Abelard’s abrasively competitive, often arrogant personality emerges at once in the brief Foreword, where he informs his correspondent: “(I)n comparing your sorrows with mine, you may discover that yours are in truth nought.. and so shall you come to bear them the more easily.”

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .As a single episode of passion it is not particularly distinguished except for the appealing personality of Héloïse; as a phase in the development of Christian philosophy it is of only secondary value. United in one, the two factors achieve a brilliant dramatic unity that has made the story of Abélard and Héloïse immortal.


Often the hearts of men and women are stirred, as likewise they are soothed in their sorrows, more by example than by words. And therefore, because I too have known some consolation from speech had with one who was a witness thereof, am I now minded to write of the sufferings which have sprung out of my misfortunes, for the eyes of one who, though absent, is of himself ever a consoler. This I do so that, in comparing your sorrows with mine, you may discover that yours are in truth nought, or at the most but of small account, and so shall you come to bear them more e. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I found Abelard to be egotistical and obnoxious. He has a real victim complex and really pats himself on the back for totally taking advantage of Heloise, who has a totally different version of things.

"Había más besos que palabras. Mis manos se dirigían más fácilmente a sus pechos que a los libros."

La "Historia Calamitatum" o traducido como "Historia de mis calamidades" es un documento que escribió Pierre Abélard supuestamente a un amigo, se puede entender como una epístola abierta también donde

Isaiah was sawed to death in his equator. Jonah was swallowed by a fish. Habakkuk travelled through the air suspended by his hair. Amos got his teeth pulled out one by one for "talking too much". St. Ignatius of Antioch was eaten by lions. St. Lawrence got toasted. St. Hyppolitus was torn apart by h

Persuasive,emotional and beautiful..

Reading this book was like getting a family pack ice-cream(my flavor is vanilla,by the way) after eating plain bread for a month. It had everything that a book needs-a good story,interesting characters and beautiful writing style. Abelard sounded arrogant at time

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