HELOISE AND ABELARDE

MS 2085
MS Short Title HELOISE AND ABELARDE
Text ABELARDE ET HELOISE; EPISTOLAE, ABELARD'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND THE LETTERS BETWEEN ABELARD AND HELOISE
Description MS in Latin on vellum, France, ca. 1350, 74 ff. (-ca. 50), 23x15 cm, single column, (15x10 cm), 25 lines in a very neat compressed Gothic book script of medium grade and quality, headings in red, 2-line initials in red or blue with penwork infilling and marginal flourishing in purple or red, many medieval notes and marks including pointing fingers, grotesque faces, etc.
Binding France, ca. 1950, blind-stamped off-white leather, sewn on 5 cords. Context: Only 12 MSS of this text are known. 7 MSS are in Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, ms. lat.2923 (13th c.), 2544, 2545, 13057, 13826, (17th c.) and ms.n.a.lat. 1873 and 20001 (a fragment); 1 in Reims: Bibliothèque Municipale, ms.872; 1 in Troyes: Bibliothèque Municipale, ms.802; Douai: Bibliothèque Municipale, ms.797; and Oxford: Bodleian MS.Add.C.271 (a fragment). 1 letter translated into Italian is MS 1192.
Provenance 1. Henri Leclerc cat. 30(1910):8621; 2. Robert de Billy, French diplomat (1910-1953); 3. Grandson of Robert de Billy (1953-1995); 4. Sotheby's 5.12.1995:33.
Commentary

The tale of Abélard and Héloise is one of the supreme and most romantic love stories of all time. It stands with the eternal legends of Hero and Leande, Dido and Aeneas, and Romeo and Juliet, as the universal image of absolute, but forbidden love. The principal difference it that the story of Abélard and Héloise is absolutely true, and is documented through the texts written by the lovers themselves, and preserved in the present MS. Abélard's autobiography and the heart-rending letter which Héloise wrote to him after reading it, still have the power to move us after more than 850 years.

Peter Abélard (1079-1142) was one of the greatest philosophers and writers of the 12th c. Héloise (ca. 1100-1164) was the first female academic in Europe.

Published C. Jeudy: "Un nouveau manuscrit de la Correspondence d'Abélard et Héloise", Latomus, Revue d'Etudes Latines, L, 1991, pp. 872-81.
Place of origin France
Dates ca 1350 AD

Location