This high-medieval love story, which the reader traces in an exchange of exquisitly written letters between two brilliant minds of the time, raises all sorts of issues. The medieval idea of the body and sexuality, what is right and wrong in terms of what is pleasing/unpleasing to God, but ubove all it is about the expression and the working out of the idea of love, both towards the divine and between man and woman.
It also gives us an interesting take on medieval life of the intellectual class. What life was like in Paris at the time of the founding of its first University is mapped out in the historia calamitatum, but also the real historical threat of heresy accusation under which Abelard laboured for his philosophical and theological insights. Also the issue of the place of women must be considered. It is interesting that Heloise was one of the very few lettered women in her time - a lone voice in the otherwise silenced abyss of time - yet she certainly does her education justice!!
Ubove all, this makes intense reading. History is brought to light on these pages in such an intimate and immediate way. For those who are interested, there is a book called "The Lost Letters of Abelard and Heloise", which is suspected to be their letters of exchange in the heat of their love affair (This book contains their letters from when they are cloistered up).