Home / Q: What’s the Saddest True Love Story of All Time?

Q: What’s the Saddest True Love Story of All Time?

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

A: In 12th century France, Fulbert, a priest of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, hired Abelard, a gifted but contrary theologian and Aristotelian philosopher, to tutor his brainy young niece, Héloïse. As you might have predicted, Abelard and Héloïse fell in love. What you might not have predicted (nor did they) is that Abelard impregnated Héloïse. When hearing of this, Héloïse’s uncle Fulbert became enraged, and shipped Héloïse off to Normandy for the duration of her pregnancy.

After giving birth to a son, she returned to Paris, where – again defying uncle’s wishes – Héloïse and Abelard slipped off for a secret wedding. When Fulbert got wind of this, it was just too much for him to bear, and – like any sensible guardian would – he organized his male relatives into a posse, ambushed Abelard, and had him “fixed”!

In the end, Abelard became a monk and Héloïse reluctantly entered a convent. (And you thought Romeo and Juliet had an unhappy ending?) But not all was lost, as their love affair still continued in the form of letters, which were later collected in book form. At the end of her life, Héloïse was abbess of the Paraclete, an abbey that Abelard had founded, and was buried next to him. One can only hope that the two lovers had better luck in the afterlife.

Powered by

About Mental_Floss

  • Tom

    This is a fantastic story that very few people in the United States are actually aware of.

    The URL is a link to a new musical on this same subject based upon the letters that are printed in the book.

    Take a look!

  • Nothing like a love story way early in the morning to wake people up to the imporatance of love in their life this article proves what I always say love really is the strongest force in the world because it is a force for good . The good people do lives years after their death.

  • Lamar Cole

    True love is the wedding of the heart and soul.

  • zingzing

    aww. <3