History Essay Writing

Extended Essay Titles: Further Information


Write a 4,000 wd essay (incl. notes & bibliography) in response to the title you agree w/ me:

it is 40% of your final mark in a module that is double-weighted (10 ects); i.e., the seminar counts

for 1/3 of your overall Final Year History mark [& cannot normally be passed by compensation.]


Format essays according to the Presentation & Layout section of the History Stylesheet (also in

Final-Year Handbook & on History webpage; with key points on Blackboard; for referencing, see below);


– the basics: double-spaced; 12-pt; 1 in/2.5 cm margins; page nos.; footnotes numbered consecutively;            with ‘typed’ title-page/cover sheet & bibliography on separate pages at front & end, respectively.


– the title of your essay should be the essay title as agreed; DO NOT make up your own title.


Hand in ONE ‘typed’ copy on or before Fri. 12th Jan. 2018 at 4 pm. to a History Dep’t. Sec’y

  rm 404 or 405—or to essay box. Early essays will be accepted & late essays will NOT normally be read;


staple your essay but do NOT enclose it in any other covering;


do NOT attach an appraisal sheet: your essay is formally treated as exam material so that you will                            NOT receive a marked copy back, though you may discuss your essay with the lecturer;


proofread & correct (by hand) your essay before submitting it.


Submit ONE ‘typed’ copy through TURNITIN (Blackboard); it is date-stamped: no Turnitin, no mark.


If you are aiming for a ‘B’ (60-69%) on your essay, it, at the least:


Must be based largely on your discussion & cogent analysis of relevant passages from the

primary sources, at least one of which is quoted or summarised & analysed as evidence,

for every point of your argument & for every general claim;


Will reflect, where relevant & useful, the required & recommended scholarly secondary literature,

titles of which have been provided over the course of the semester;


Must provide citations or references (i.e., footnotes) wherever appropriate;


Will, in general, be grammatically correct, accurately punctuated, & coherently organised;


Must be presented according to the guidelines given in the History Style Sheet—as supplemented

by the lecturer’s handouts—including the format (style) for footnotes & bibliography.


NB: Points are deducted if you do not consult relevant required & recommended secondary titles;

Lecturer’s reading lists DO NOT routinely provide full bibliographic references;

Essays without footnotes (i.e, references) & bibliography will NOT BE READ;

Plagiarised essays will be sanctioned according to the University’s Code of Practice.


Further Information:

Once-off special tutorial on academic referencing will be scheduled


15% of your module mark is a  1,250 wd essay evaluating as evidence the main primary source(s) to be examined in your final essay + a bibliography of other primary sources & secondary literature consulted to date, submitted via Turnitin &

a ‘hard copy’ due when you discuss your long essay with me  in a 15-20 min. meeting,

most likely to be scheduled during the study week;

details & sign-up sheet to follow [no meeting, no mark].


Seven Steps for Writing a Long Essay based on Primary Sources in History


  1. Agree a title in consultation with the lecturer & identify relevant primary sources.


  1. Create a database of primary sources.

Reread all the relevant primary sources &

list, by author/text (w/ chapter/section & page nos.), all the passages relevant to your question,              noting for every passage:

– the author’s source for that particular nugget of information;

– the passage’s place in its wider textual context;

& – any other ‘source-critical’ information important for assessing what the passage means,

or how it is best interpreted in relation to your question.


  1. Analyse your database with a view to formulating an answer to your question.

Focus first on the primary source passages you’ve compiled, answering questions such as:

– those discussed in the ‘5 Fundamental Questions’


– what kind of information does a given author not provide whilst another one does? why not?


–  how can any discrepancies, inconsistencies or contradictions in information (even as                              provided by the same author) be explained?


what does an author mean by what s/he says? (think: why has s/he included this information at

this point in this particular text/account & expressed it in these particular words?)


– how do an author’s personal perspective; source of particular information; aims in                                     recording that information; intended audience for his/her work, etc.; colour/shape/influence

              what s/he says & means in each of the specific passages you’ve noted?


– which passages express a point you want to make in your essay most succinctly & explicitly?


– how can you explain passages that might at first sight appear to contradict your ideas?


It is presumed that you are familiar with all the required secondary literature (e.g., articles, books by modern scholars) assigned weekly & that you have consulted recommended titles that appear (by their title or lecturer’s comments & further recommendations) to be relevant to your question:

–  Draw on the historically-sound findings of those scholars to help you interpret your primary                        sources in their wider textual & historical contexts.


NB: Some questions about medieval authors & their works or historical persons, words, ideas, events

cannot be answered definitively,

                – so note any disagreements & decide which scholar’s views you endorse & why;

                   & express your views in degrees of probability: ‘x is possible’; ‘it is unlikely that…’;

‘it is highly likely that…’; ‘there seems to be no doubt, but direct evidence is lacking’;

y was routine or not uncommon or sometimes happened or exceptional . . . because


              Not all issues discussed in an article/book will be relevant to the question you are answering:                          – so ignore all information in the secondary literature that is not relevant to your question;


Even scholars can make mistakes, either factual ones or by mis-reading a primary source:

– so tell reader what your medieval author says, not what some modern scholar says s/he says.


<you should be working on step 4 when you discuss your essay with me>


  1. On the basis of your analysis, formulate your answer & outline your essay.

Your answer should be in the form of an argument or thesis, that might have

1-3,4,5 main points & 1-3 sub-points for each main point (depending on the question).


      State your argument/thesis, in full, in 1-3 sentences, mentioning all essential points.


List your main points in the order you will treat them (including sub-points where required);

for every main point & sub-point, note the key passages from the primary sources that you

will discuss as evidence in order to prove your point to your readers.



  1. Write a first draft.

State your argument/thesis, mentioning all the specific points you will treat, by the end of your                         introductory paragraph.


Develop your argument by treating in turn each main point (with relevant sub-points),

providing evidence for each point in the form of your analysis of quotations

&/or close summaries in your own words from the relevant primary source passages.


– Make sure the quotations & summarised passages say what you claim they say

or else explain how they mean what you are saying or how they demonstrate your claim.


Provide a footnote to the source of  (i.e., where you found):

every passage, idea, or interpretation from a medieval or modern author that you

                   summarise in your own words & sentence structure;


any & all background or factual information that is not common knowledge to your peers;


– every direct quotation from a medieval or modern author (which will be in quotation marks).


Conclude by accurately ‘summing up’ what you’ve said;

do not introduce any new ideas in your conclusion.


Do not look at your draft (put it in a drawer!) for 48 hours or more.


  1. Write a second draft.

Clarify your expression of all key points & provide logical transitions between them.


Balance, within the overall word count, your discussion of key points;

– if you end up cutting some important supporting examples, consider mentioning & referencing                       them in your notes.


Trim lengthy quotations & integrate all quotations into your prose.


      Correct grammar, spelling, punctuation.


Ensure that all quotations, summaries & background information are correctly footnoted:

when in doubt, add a note;

            – be sure that your footnote style matches that of the History Stylesheet & Class Guidelines.


Ensure that your introduction states the precise points you discuss, in the order in which you treat them.


Ensure that your conclusion accurately reflects what you have written.


Compile your ‘Bibliography of Primary & Secondary Sources’ in the required format (style);

do not include any item you have not read yourself;

– include items you consulted & found helpful, even if you did not quote directly  from them.


      Type your title page


  1. Print (according to required History Stylesheet page layout), proofread (feel free to ‘pencil in’ final       corrections by hand) & submit your essay (as directed abkove).


I have a spelling checker;

It came with my PC.

It plainly marks for my revue

Mistakes I cannot sea.

I’ve run this poem threw it,

I’m sure your pleased too no.

Its letter perfect in it’s weigh.   [NB: both ‘its’ are wrong]

My checker tolled me sew.


Feel free to consult the lecturer at any stage in the essay writing process,

during her office hours or by appointment


 Seminar HI 569: Aristocratic Women in Medieval Europe, c.750-1200

Suggestions for Long Essay Topics


You are not limited to the questions provided here,

though they may spark ideas for topics you’d prefer to explore.


Do not embark on any essay without confirming your topic with me.


All essays are to be based on your analysis all relevant assigned primary sources (unless otherwise specified) Secondary reading should focus on relevant required & recommended reading from weekly assignment sheets, as supplemented by further titles recommended for your topic.


Avoid discussion of events before c.750 and after c.1250.


Assess the importance of elite women’s roles as educators and transmitters of social knowledge, c. 750–1150.


Analyse Dhouda’s ‘Manual’as a source for the benefits and dangers of life at rulers’ courts in the Carolingian period.


Analyse the relationship of the spiritual and material worlds as presented by Dhuoda in her ‘Manual’ and in texts by and about Ottonian women.


Analyse Dhouda’s ‘Manual’ and Hrotsvita’s ‘’On the Foundation of Gandersheim’ as sources for elite lay piety and devotion c. 750-1000.      [i.e. what do they ‘tell’ historians about elite lay piety & devotion]


Discuss the contributions made by Ottonian women to the politics of their day.


What do the works of Hrotsvita of Gandersheim reveal about the literary culture of women in the Ottonian realm?         [for those who want to look at Hrotsvita’s other writings, too]


Discuss the social, political, and religious-cultural contributions of aristocratic women in the Ottonian realm to their wider world.


Analyse the importance and limitations of hagiographic narratives as sources for the activities of aristocratic women.

[Ottonian hagiographic works were focused on in class; others can be recommended for comparison or analysis]


What do letters to, from and about aristocratic women reveal about their socio-cultural roles, jurisdictional (lordly) powers over land and people, and participation in the politics of their day?


Discuss the roles played by aristocratic women in, and their experiences of, matrimonial politics, c. 750-1250.


What do letters, written records of property transfers and exchanges [e.g., charters, deeds, wills, dower letters, marriage contracts] and statements of legal custom [e.g., law codes] reveal about women’s control of property,

  1. 900-1250?


To what extent did changes in marriage practices, inheritance customs, and/or family structure affect aristocratic women’s household activities and lordly powers in the period c. 1050–1285?


To what extent did the social and political roles played by married aristocratic women and their experience of married life change after c. 1050?    (Discuss with reference to the period to c. 750-1250).


What does the correspondence between Heloise & Abelard disclose about changing laws and attitudes to sex and  marriage in the early twelfth century?


‘For all her exceptional qualities and interest in feminine “figures”, Hildegard of Bingen’s views and attitudes were largely traditional or conservative’; discuss.

[for those who want to read more widely in Hildegard’s other visionary-prophetic works]


Discuss the written work(s) of Dhuoda or Hrotsvita of Gandersheim or Heloise, or the letters of Hildegard of Bingen [you choose 1!]  and explain their historical significance—in general, not simply in regards to the history of women.


Analyse the portrayal of women in [your chosen historical narrative or body of letters or other related texts] and what historians can learn from it about women’s contributions to the society and politics of their day.

Good possibilities (available in library)  include:

    The book [=miracles] of Sainte Foy   [tr. Sheingorn & Clark]

‘Chronicles of Hainaut’ by Gilbert of Mons [tr. L Napran]

‘History of the Counts of Guînes & Lords of Ardres’ by Lambert of Ardres, [tr. L Shopkow]

William of Tyre’s ‘crusade history’ or ‘History of Deeds Done Beyond the Seas’ [ACLS; tr. Babcock & Krey]

Letters of Gerbert of Aurillac [ACLS; tr. H. Lattin]

Letters=Register of pope Gregory VII [tr. HEJ Cowdrey]

Letters of Peter Damian [tr. Blum, multi-vols. in library; some on Epistolae]





1.)  NORM vs PRACTICE:  Are you being presented with a socially NORMATIVE or legally PRESCRIPTIVE or morally EXEMPLARY view of ‘Woman’, i.e., what someone (usually a man) thought all women SHOULD, OUGHT, or MUST do (or NOT do), or put forth as an example of an ‘ideal Woman’ whom real women should strive to imitate?

Or, are you reading an account of actual EVENTS or ACTIONS of a woman who really lived & actually DID what was reported (i.e., what really happened)?

Or, maybe it is a report about what women COULD do: actions they had the CAPACITY to perform (physically, mentally, legally. . .), even if it is not clear–or is hotly debated–how often or how many women actually ever did such things?


2.) PRIMARY SOURCES & THEIR GENRE:  How do we know a woman actually did what an author (modern or medieval) said she did, in the way the author said she did, & for the reasons the author said she did?  Be sure to check the modern historian’s evidence, and ask yourself whether s/he did the proper primary source criticism before taking what the primary source says at face value.  Whether examining the primary source yourself, or thinking about how a modern historian uses a medieval source as evidence, ask yourself:

What type of text/document is this?

Who wrote it?

When, why, for whom?

Then think about how the answers to these questions affect the ‘reliability’ or ‘trustworthiness’ of the information provided for the aspect of women’s lives & activities you are trying to explore & understand.

Where does the author get his/her information (hearsay, eyewitnesses, formal documents.. . . )?

Why should s/he be believed (or not, or to what extent)?

– Does the primary source present a NORM to be obeyed or an IDEAL to aspire to?

EVENTS that actually took place or ACTIONS a woman actually performed?

– Actions JUDGED or INTERPRETED according to norms (e.g., she won the battle, but she

                  shouldn’t have been on the battlefield in the first place…)

– An imaginary/imagined situation (e.g., here’s an invented story about a woman imprisoned             in a tower by her mean old husband…)?

Any one primary source can contain a combination of the above.  Moreover, an author can be biased for or against a given person, or ‘invent’/attribute motivations to her (on the basis of what the author ‘assumes’ motivates any & all women, for example), but still be quite reliable (factually accurate) about what actually happened;

e.g., woman W may well have given a gift to bishop B to raise an army for son S in year DOT, even if you don’t believe the author’s claims that W also slept with B and supported S out of over-emotional zeal & her immoral personal desire to subvert the course of justice & public rule (questionable judgements that might reflect the author’s biases against all women or for king K, presented alongside otherwise accurately reported facts).

Always try to find corroborating evidence to confirm any one claim.  If & when sources disagree, even to the point of presenting diametrically opposed information (‘she murdered her husband‘; ‘she never harmed a hair on his head’), try to determine which source is more trustworthy & for what reasons. . . .


3.)  LIFE-STAGES:  Is the woman discussed a daughter, wife, mother, or widow?

– How old is she?  – Is she sexually active or has she taken a vow of chastity?

– Is she a laywoman or a ‘religious’ (a nun or someone who has taken some kind of  special vows):

if so, in what religious order or type of community & in what circumstances?


4.)   ‘CLASS’ or social rank & personal status (the 2 don’t always overlap: a king’s daughter—personally of royal status—married to a merchant or peasant will not usually live as a queen or a great noble; i.e,. her social rank as a merchant’s/peasant’s wife will be lower than her personal status).

We are treating women of the aristocratic elite (most often of noble birth), but where would they stand on the lordly ladder, where there could be quite a gulf between the standing, ruling powers & property portfolios of a queen & those of a knight’s wife; or a ‘disconnect’ between personal status & social rank?:

–  Is she of the upper/higher nobility: a queen; a great, titled noblewoman (e.g., countess, duchesses)?

–  Is she of the lesser/lower nobility: the wife of a castle lord/castellan; of knightly/gentry birth?

–  Is she of the same or different personal status as her husband?

–  Is she of common (not noble) birth but has achieved greater standing through marriage or religion?

–  Is she an abbess or merely a professed nun?


5.)  HOW REPRESENTATIVE?  Is the woman discussed an exception or representative of a broader group?

– How broad?    – Broad enough to be historically significant, or not?

– How would (or could) you determine whether the case provided is representative or exceptional?


Session 11: Heloise & the New Church Marriage Rules


Primary Sources:  [handout]

Letters of Heloise & Abelard, 1 (‘A Story of Calamities’, extracts)-5, tr. M.M. McLaughlin, 2009


Study & Discussion Questions:        [* = possible short source essay]

    Focus your reading on the discussions of love, sex & marriage


    – What types of love, and what different views of love, are presented in the letters?


*  – Why did Heloise argue against their marriage (be sure to consult her own words!)

AND [these 2 questions together = 1 esssay]

*   – Does Abelard fairly represent all her views?  If not, what does he misrepresent?


*  – Why & how did they wed & to what extent did their marriage conform to newer views on marriage?


– Why did their marriage fail?


– Compare and/or contrast Heloise’s & Abelard’s views of why they entered the religious life.


*   – Is either author telling ‘the (whole) truth’ about their relationship?  How can you know?


Required Secondary Reading:

CNL Brooke, ‘Marriage’, ch. 7 of his Europe in the Central Middle Ages… 3rd edn, (2000) [BBoard]

M.M. McLaughlin & B. Wheeler, ‘Introduction’ to The Letters of Heloise & Abelard (2009) BBoard—[w/ other ‘helps’ (chronologies, maps, info. people & places mentioned) to consult as you see fit]



Further Recommended Secondary Reading:  [+ = possible presentation]

General background only: ch. 2 in CNL Brooke’s Renaissance of the Twelfth Century (1969) sets Abelard & Heloise in  broader 12th-13th century intellectual & literary context, but more recent reasearch shows that their  world was much more complex than depicted. Enjoy the colour pictures!


Marriage  [to c.1200]

+J. Gillingham, ‘Love, Marriage and Politics in the Twelfth Century’, rpt in his collected essays volume, Richard Coeur de Lion. . ., (1994) no. 12, pp. 243-255  [1st pub. in Forum for Modern Language Studies 15 (1989): 292-303, now on-line.]  [like FL Cheyette, in ‘Occitania’ art., G’s an historian using literary sources—though he uses them to argue a different point]   box


+J.C. Parsons, ‘Mothers, Daughters, Marriage, Power: Some Plantagenet Evidence’ in J.C. Parsons, ed., Medieval Queenship (1993), pp. 63-78 (notes & full refs. at end) [were marriages consumated at 12?] box


  1. Evergates, ‘The Marriage Contract’, ch 5 of his The Aristocracy of Champagne (2007)


C.N.L. Brooke, The Medieval Idea of Marriage pp.119-43 (pp. 56-77 are also revealing) (1989) [written for students; he includes discussion of Abelard & Heloise]


  1. Cartlidge, Medieval marriage : literary approaches, 1100-1300 (1997); pp. 5-19 for an overview of recent scholarly approaches to the topic; pp. 58-75 for Abelard & Heloise  [library & box]


R.M. Karras, Unmarriages: Women, Men, and Sexual Unions in the Middle Ages (2012), esp. intro. & ch.1: imp’t revisionary synthesis of what did or did not make a ‘marriage’ in earlier middle ages followed by overview of C11-12 reforms (w/ ‘case studies’, incl. A&H)


J.A. Brundage, Law, Sex, and Christian Sociey  in Medieval Europe (1987) esp. pp. 260-306 also ACLS

    The reference work for complexities & detailed contours of developing canon law on sex & marriage; divorce & annulment, etc., etc.



P.L. Reynolds, How marriage became one of the sacraments: The sacramental theology of marriage 

     from its medieval origins to the Council of Trent (2016)  Library ebk  [more ‘theory’ than practice]


P.S. Gold, ‘The Marriage of Mary and Joseph…’ in V. Bullough & J. Brundage, eds., Sexual Practices and the Medieval Church (1982)  [is a childless, or even sexless, marriage still a marriage?]


I.M. Resnick, ‘Marriage in Medieval Culture: Consent Theory & the Case of Joseph & Mary’, Church History 69 (2000): 350-71  [jn’l on line; develops Gold’s arguments but w/ little acknowledgment]


C.B. Bouchard, ‘Consanguinity & Noble Marriages in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries’  Speculum 56 (1981): 268-87; JSTOR  [For evidence of noble families attempting to live by church’s teaching on incest/prohibited degrees; she also explains how to count degrees: germanic v. roman!]


Ch. Rolker, ‘Two Models of Incest: conflict and confusion in high medieval discourse on kinship and marriage’ in Love & Marriage in Medieval & Early Modern Times, ed. P. Anderson, et al., pp. 145-65 (2012)  PdFs at https://kops.uni-konstanz.de/bitstream/handle/123456789/30803/Rolker_0-263863.pdf?sequence=3    &     https://bamberg.academia.edu/ChristofRolker

[diverse justifications for prohibiting marriage in 7th (eventually 4th) degrees]


  1. Goody, The Development of the Family and Marriage in Europe (1983): an anthroplogist’s perspective that covers changes in counting degrees of relationship & offers one—problematic–explanation for why the range of prohibited kin became so wide in C11-12 Europe; an appendiex points out problems in Duby’s use of the term ‘lignage’/lineage]


C.S. Jaeger,  Ennobling Love: In Search of a Lost Sensibility (1999) [esp. chs. on love, women, Heloise]


J.H. Mundy, Men & women at Toulouse in the age of the Cathars (1990)  [see some couples in action!]


Older classics (now more of historiographical interest & all are cited in several of the above works)

J.T. Noonan, Jr., ‘Power to Choose’, Viator 4 (1973): 419-34. [but what century is he writing about?]


J.F. Benton, ‘Clio and Venus: An Historical View of Medieval Love’, in The Meaning of Courtly Love,  ed. F.X. Newman, pp. 19-42 (1973)  [historical reality vs romance lit?]


  1. Duby, Medieval marriage: two models from 12th -century France (1991) ACLS


  1. Duby, The Knight, The Lady, and the Priest: The Making of Modern Marriage in Medieval France (1983/1993-Eng)


Heloise, the letters, her monastic life in context:

Evergates’ art. on ‘Women in Champagne’ in Aristocratic Womenputs Heloise & Paraclete in context


C.J. Mews, ‘Heloise & Discussion about Love’ in his Abelard and Heloise (2005) chs. 4 & 7 treat love & the letters exchanged when Heloise was at Paraclete; Mews believes that the letters of 2 lovers are by Hel. & Abe.; not all specialists do….


  1. Newman, Making love in the twelfth century: letters of two lovers in context (2016) lib. e-bk, provides a new translation of the lovers’ letters, as well as translations of other ‘love’ letters written by C11-12 century women religious.


C.J. Mews, ‘The voice of Heloise’, ch. 6. pp. 145-177 of his The Lost Love Letters of Heloise & Abelard (1999)   [includes some poems Heloise might well have written]


C.J. Mews, The Lost Love Letters of Heloise & Abelard (1999) [Intro. is good contextual discussion of issues & letters are in English—even if not all scholars think they are the early love letters of A&H!]


  1. Kong, Lettering the Self in Medieval & Early Modern France (2010) –chapt. on Heloise cont.=>


  1. Dronke, ‘Heloise’ Women Writers of the Middle Ages (1984) [deft readings, but as always w/ Dronke, ones that (perhaps unjustly)  accentuate the autobiographical & personal]


  1. Georgianna, ‘Any Corner of Heaven: Heloise’s Critique of Monasticism’, rvsd. ed., in B. Wheeler, ed., Listening to Heloise: The Voice of a Twelfth-Century Woman, pp. 187-216 (2000);

[first pub. in  Mediaeval Studies 49 (1987): 221-253; in library; interesting to compare changes]

[***one of the best discussions of how Heloise coped w/ monastic life***]


M.M. McLaughlin, ‘Heloise the Abbess: The Expansion of the Paraclete’, in Listening to Heloise: the Voice of a Twelfth-Century Woman, ed. B. Wheeler, pp. 1-17 (2000)

[**best treatment of Heloise as abbess, incl. her land transactions*!—see next  for more in vol]


Other useful articles for the surrounding ‘emotional context’ in the Listening to Heloise vol (above), ed. Wheeler include Blamires (on consolation), McGuire (on friendship) & Feros Ruys (on motherhood)


P.D. Johnson, ‘The cloistering of medieval nuns: release or repression, reality or fantasy?’ in Gendered Domains; Rethinking Public & Private in Women’s History, edd. D.-O. Helly & S.M. Reverby, pp. 27-39 (1992).   [**Best short overview of a much misunderstood issue**]


A.I. Beach, ‘Claustration & Collaboration between the Sexes in the Twelfth-Century Scriptorium’ in Monks and Nuns, Saints and Outcasts…,  ed. S. Farmer, pp. 57-75 (2000).


P.S. Gold, ‘The charters of Le Roncery d’Angers: male/female interaction in monastic business’  in  J.T. Rosenthal, ed., Medieval Women and the Sources of Medieval History (1990)  [other abbesses!]


B.L. Venarde, Women’s Monasticism and Medieval Society: Nunneries in France and England,    

    980-1215 (1997)    also ACLS E-Bk     [perhaps best overview of new devp’s, post 1000]


P.D. Johnson, Equal in Monastic Profession: Religious Women in Medieval France (1991) also ACLS

[most nuanced & comprehensive treatment of the subject]


Other Translations & Authenticity Debate:

The Letters of Abelard and Heloise, tr. B. Radice & rvsd. M.T. Clanchy, 2nd edn. (Penguin, 2003); no later letters but also includes some related texts & some of Abelard’s planctus (laments): a rv’sd version of a student classic of 1974 , readily accessible but now best replaced by a newer version

      like McLaughlin’s (2009) (as for class) 


  1. Levitan, Abelard & Heloise: The Letters & Other Writings (2007), includes Abelard’s planctus & his Carmen (didactic poem) to their son Astralabe: trans. replicates the rhythmic prose of originals]


J.M. Ziolkowski, tr. Letters of Peter Abelard: Beyond the Personal (2008)  [the later letters, now also tr. by in McLauglin but also more by Abelard himself, esp. on his intellectual/theological controversies]


  1. Newman, ‘Authority, Authenticity, and the Repression of Heloise’ in her From Virile Woman to WomanChrist: Studies in Medieval Religion and Literature, pp. 46-75; 262-69 (1995; this art. 1st pub. in 1992) [a literary historical approach & thought experiment to argue for authenticity]


  1. Marenbon, ‘The Letters of Abelard & Heloise’ = excursus 1 in his The Philosophy of Peter Abelard (1997), pp. 82-93. [good summary of authenticity debate & argument for authenticity]


  1. Marenbon, ‘Authenticity Revisited’, in Listening to Heloise… (2000): discusses the ideological stakes at issue in the authenticity debate in light of recent scholarly veiws, feminist & otherwise


For those of you with Latin & the curiosity: it is now possible to consult on-line the latin versions of all of Abelard’s letters (& those of Heloise as well):


Last Updated on June 14, 2020