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Historia Calamitatum

The Story of my Misfortunes

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Author: Peter Abélard
Language: English
Wordcount: 29,717 / 91 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 52.6
LoC Category: CT
Downloads: 2,417
Added to site: 2009.09.06 25209

An Autobiography by Peter Abélard. Translated by Henry Adams Bellows. Introduction by Ralph Adams Cram.

Show Excerpt

point between the two."

In this "Story of My Misfortunes" Abélard gives his own account of the triumphant manner in which he confounded his master, William, but as Henry Adams says, "We should be more credulous than twelfth-century monks, if we believed, on Abélard's word in 1135, that in 1110 he had driven out of the schools the most accomplished dialectician of the age by an objection so familiar that no other dialectician was ever silenced by it--whatever may have been the case with theologians-and so obvious that it could not have troubled a scholar of fifteen. William stated a selected doctrine as old as Plato; Abélard interposed an objection as old as Aristotle. Probably Plato and Aristotle had received the question and answer from philosophers ten thousand years older than themselves. Certainly the whole of philosophy has always been involved in this dispute."

So began the battle of the schools with all its more than military strategy and tactics, and in the end it w

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 4 from 1 reviews: ****
Sardo Weems

A strange autobiography. It is an account of all the wrongs done to the greatest philosopher of his time, and no one held him in higher regard than he himself. Everyone is his enemy because they all envy him. Heloise, the girl he was turoring and got pregnant (their son was named Astrolabe,) naturally fell in love with him, and it was unfair of her uncle to cut off his male parts.

The book starts out whiny, then just becomes defensive; he quotes Christian scripture to condemn his enemies and puff up himself as a follower of Christ. I kept waiting for something like humility or forgiveness to pop up, but it never did.

Go ahead and read it. If the guy was a modern-day fiction writer and the character was made-up, the story would be critically acclaimed as a character study.



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