Religion and Monasticism in Popular Retellings of the Heloise-Abelard Story

Juanita Feros Ruys

Abstract


The aim of this paper is to examine how religion and monasticism are treated in some literary retellings of the story of Heloise and Abelard. The paper will first look at an eighteenth century poem by Alexander Pope, thereafter concentrating on key twentieth century texts. It will consider the treatment of individual religious feeling, including Heloise's repentance and Abelard's monastic conversion. As there tellings treat Heloise's monastic experiences more comprehensively than Abelard's, this paper also focuses on female monasticism, considering how the texts portray the advantages and disadvantages of communal religious life. This paper then hopes to show how the social contexts of the authors shape their depictions of religion and monasticism.

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