The tragic story of Abelard and Heloise has resonated through the ages. Around 1100, Peter Abelard went to Paris to study at the school of Notre Dame. He gained a reputation as an outstanding philosopher.
Fulbert, the canon of Notre Dame, hired Abelard to tutor his niece, Heloise. Abelard and the scholarly Heloise fell deeply in love, conceived a child, and were secretly married. But Fulbert was furious, so Abelard sent Heloise to safety in a convent.
Thinking that he intended to abandon Heloise, Fulbert had his servants castrate Abelard while he slept. Abelard became a monk and devoted his life to learning. The heartbroken Heloise became a nun. Despite their separations and tribulations, Abelard and Heloise remained in love.
Their poignant love letters were later published.