The Letters of Abelard and Heloise

Cultural references

In literature

  • Mark Twain's book, The Innocents Abroad, tells a satirical version of the story of Abélard and Héloïse.
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau's novel, Julie, ou la nouvelle Héloïse, refers to the history of Heloise and Pierre Abélard.
  • Helen Waddell's book, Peter Abelard, depicts the romance between the two.
  • Abaelards Liebe, a German language novel by Luise Rinser, depicts the love story of Heloise and Abelard from the perspective of their son, Astrolabe.
  • In the novel The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas, whilst the Count is viewing the funeral of Valentine in The Cemetery of Pere-La-Chaise he notices young Morrel gliding amongst the yew-trees and "this shadow (Morrel's) passed rapidly behind the tomb of Abelard and Heloise."
  • Marion Meade's novel Stealing Heaven depicts the romance and adapted into a film.
  • D.H. Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover references the love story of Abélard and Héloïse who had "passed through all the stages of refinements of passion" as she is being sodomized by Oliver Mellors.
  • Lauren Groff's short story "L. DeBard and Aliette" from her collection Delicate Edible Birds recreates the story of Héloïse and Abélard, set in 1918 New York.
  • Sharan Newman's Catherine LeVendeur series of medieval mysteries feature Héloïse, Abélard, and Astrolabe as occasional characters, mentors and friends of the main character, formerly a novice at the Paraclete.
  • In Deborah Valentine's 2013 fantasy novel, The Knightmare, Abélard and Héloïse are cited in the acknowledgements as the inspiration for the characters of Valeray and Agnes, and their son Astrolabe as the inspiration for the main character, Rhyswr.
  • George Moore's 1921 novel, "Heloise and Abelard," treats their entire relationship from first meeting through final parting.
  • Sherry Jones's 2014 novel, "The Sharp Hook of Love," is a fictional account of Abélard and Héloïse.

In music

  • "Heloise and Abelard", a song written by SCA bard Efenwealt Wystle (aka Scott Vaughan)
  • Abelard and Heloise is a 1970 soundtrack album by the British Third Ear Band.
  • The lyrics of "Abelard and Heloise", featured on Seventh Angel's album The Dust of Years, are based on the couple's famous correspondence.
  • The song "Heloise" by Frank Black, from the album Devil's Workshop, refers to this story.
  • The Cole Porter song "Just One of Those Things", alludes to this story.

In poetry

  • François Villon's "Ballade des Dames du Temps Jadis" ("Ballad of the Ladies of Times Past") mentions Héloïse and Abélard in the second stanza.
  • Their story inspired the poem, "The Convent Threshold", by the Victorian English poet Christina Rossetti.
  • Their story inspired the poem, "Eloisa to Abelard", by the English poet Alexander Pope.
  • In Robert Lowell's poetry collection History (1973), the poem "Eloise and Abelard" portrays the lovers after their separation.

Onstage and onscreen

  • Abelard & Heloise was a 1971 Broadway production at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, starring Diana Rigg and Keith Michell. It was directed by Robin Phillips and was first presented at The Ahmanson Theatre, The Music Center, Los Angeles, California.
  • In the film Being John Malkovich, the character Craig Schwartz, a failed puppeteer, stages a sidewalk puppet show depicting correspondence between Héloïse and Abélard.
  • Howard Brenton's play, In Extremis: The Story of Abelard and Heloise, premiered at Shakespeare's Globe in as of 2006.
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind makes several references to the story of Abelard and Heloise in both script and plot.
  • The film, Stealing Heaven (1988), chronicles their story and stars Derek de Lint, Kim Thomson, and Denholm Elliott.
  • The Sopranos Season 5 Episode 6, HBO (2006) - Sentimental Education mentions the story of Abelard and Heloise several times in the dialogue and has a plot parallel in the affair of Carmela Soprano with a scholar.


  • Ehrenfeucht–Fraïssé game
  • In litterature concerning Independence-Friendly Logic and Game Semantics, Abelard and Eloise are the names of the two theoretical gameplayers, related also with universal quantifier (∀) and existential quantifier (∃).

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