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The Repentant Abelard: Family, Gender, and Ethics in Peter Abelard's Carmen ad Astralabium and Planctus [Hardcover]

Juanita Feros Ruys

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This title will be released on December 4, 2014.
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Book Description

Dec 4 2014 0312240023 978-0312240028 0
The great medieval thinker Peter Abelard is renowned for his uncompromising and radical approach to ethics and theology, a towering public figure in twelfth-century schools and monasticism. The Repentant Abelard argues, however, that later in his life, Abelard's thoughts turned again towards his own family, and it explores the works he wrote at this time for his former wife Heloise and son Astralabe. These include six laments (Planctus) for Heloise written in the voices of Old Testament figures, works of extraordinary poetry, resonant with love, sorrow, and despair. For his son he wrote a long poem of didactic advice (Carmen ad Astralabium) in which he summarized decades of his controversial ethical and theological ideas. This book offers a new Latin edition of these texts complete with first-time full English translation and comprehensive notes. The works are introduced by thematic, stylistic, and reception studies which reveal how powerful and unique these texts are within Medieval Latin literature. As such, they stand as truly personal gifts from Abelard to his family.

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"Juanita Feros Ruys introduces us to a more humane Abelard, as he evolved in the 1130s only after re-connecting with Heloise, the woman who had transformed his life two decades earlier. Through her edition, translation, and commentary of two, unjustly neglected poetic texts, his Carmen or Song for Astralabe and his Planctus or Laments, Ruys shows with elegance and finesse how Abelard could move beyond the moralism that characterises his earlier writing to Heloise to reflect on complex issues of family relationships, justice, and the human condition." - Constant J. Mews, Professor and Director, Centre for Religious Studies, Monash University, Australia "This is one of the most original and important books to have been published about Abelard. Through impeccable scholarship, the fascinating but difficult poetry of his later years is made accessible to today's readers. The master of Latin rhetoric, who is revealed here, is as engaging as the more familiar figure of Abelard the philosopher and theologian. Here too is a fresh way of understanding the personal story of Abelard and Heloise." - M. T. Clanchy, University of London, Emeritus Professor of Medieval History, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, UK

About the Author

Juanita Feros Ruys is a Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Sydney Node of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions at the University of Sydney, Australia. Her areas of expertise include the writings of Abelard and Heloise, medieval Latinate women's writings, medieval and early modern didactic literature, and high medieval demonology.

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