Graduation Date



This project strives to decouple the 12th century writer Heloise d’Argenteuil from her husband, the notorious Peter Abelard, establishing her as a significant thinker and writer, particularly in the tradition of women’s literature. Heloise, in fact, anticipated the querelle des femme of a later medieval scholar, Christine de Pizan, as she sought to combat stereotypical thinking about women within the circumscribed role of a devoted lover and wife to Abelard. Drawing on the work of Sally Livingston and others, I will examine various medieval discourses.

In her letters, Heloise is revealed as a figure aspiring to be viewed not as a wife succumbing to a man, but rather as a woman devoting her mind, body, and future to her husband. Thus, this paper will examine her rhetorical strategies that engender a conversation between husband and wife and enable her to consciously retain an unbreakable connection with Abelard.