Thursday, April 2, 2009

.........Jeudi de Josephine: A Timeless Lovestory...

What a love story – that of Josephine and Napoleon…Filled with devotion, passion, friendship and, yes, many tempestuous moments as well. History reveals this was a great and everlasting love.

Was there ever a love story that moved Josephine as hers did others? In fact there was; Josephine was devoted to the story of Heloise and Abelard - another love story that inspired many throughout the centuries.



Painting by Jean Vignaud 1819


Their tragic story began back in the Middle Ages. Heloise was a French philosopher and Medieval Scholar who, under the guidance of her uncle, the Abbot Fulbert, was made to continue her studies at home with Peter Abelard- a brilliant scholar and a teacher at the University of Paris. Abelard was given room and board at Fulbert’s home, and having given a vow of celibacy, he was considered as totally trustworthy with Heloise. Well, one thing led to another and the two naturally fell in love. When this was discovered, the Abott immediately separated them. But, it was too late- Heloise was already pregnant with Abelard’s son.

The two lovers escaped to Abelard’s home for a short while. They then returned to Paris with their son and secretly got married. However, it was important for them to live separately and keep their marriage a secret since this would have been a serious obstacle in Abelard’s academic career. So they pretended their relationship was over and it was decided that Heloise opt for the Convent; although without the wearing of the veil.

When uncle Fulbert heard about this he went wild. He was so furious that he arranged to get even with Abelard. Abelard was hunted down in Paris until he was found and then-castrated!. Consequently, Abelard entered the Dominican Order and became a monk. No sooner, Heloise, took up the veil, gave up her son and became a nun; later an abbess.

Although separated, and their lives having taken a drastic turn, the two continued to write to eachother until the rest of their days. It is said that their love lasted until their very end. Abelard died before Heloise and was buried in the Paraclete, according to his wishes. When Heloise died she was buried alongside her great love.

Throughout the centuries their bodies were dug up and moved several times. It was only after our tender-hearted Josephine, who thought their love story so very tragic, bbrought both bodies closer for their final move at the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris. Josephine was very moved by these lovers and both she and Napoleon regularly paid tribute to their shrine.

I wonder if Josephine ever compared similarities with her own relationship; seeing that both Josephine and Napoleon’s story would also end with them being kept far apart for reasons of higher impediment. They too were physically separated, yet infinitely in love until the end…forever and ever.



Portrait from a 14c manuscript






Scripted tomb







source: http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/heloise.htm
- wikipedia

21 comments:

kadavisu said...

I really enjoyed this post. I recently downloaded the audio files of Aberlard and Heloise's letters from Libri Vox. I can't wait to listen to them now. The Josephine connection is interesting.

Ms. Lucy said...

Hi Kadavisu, thank you for your kind comment and for visiting:) I'd love for you to send me the link to those audio files, if possible.

Yes, it is interesting how Josephine's story somehow parallels theirs. Please come visit again:)

Paris Atelier said...

Oh! How romantic and so very tragic! I have never heard their story and I really enjoyed your post my dear friend! I wonder if Josephine knew how romantic her life was!?! Or how it would live on through the ages. Beautiful post!
xoxo
Judith~

Ms. Lucy said...

Thank you Judith:) I suppose some love stories are meant to live forever. I wonder too if Josephine ever thought about this. Merci de ta gentillesse, mon amie.

Lola said...

She was something else, wasn't she? Thank you for this great post. Now I'm eager to peruse your blog to find out more. What an interesting field you explore. I too, have an ongoing love affair with Venice, Giacomo Casanova, Canaletto, Tiziano and Vittore Carpaccio (among others). It's never enough, I must regularly return to La Serenissima for more! Ciao and thanks for visiting my blog(s).

Ingrid Mida said...

What a tragic love story. I found it especially interesting that Heloise's father found her worthy of education. I thought that most women at the time were denied higher learning.

Ms. Lucy said...

Lola! It's so nice to see you here! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I too have this fascination with Venice- I'll keep posting so please come visit again:) Thanks!


Hi Ingrid:) Isn't so sad? You know I tought the same thing about Heloise; how fortunate she was to be able to study...what a strange rarity. Thanks!

elena maria vidal said...

I did not know that Josephine loved their story!

Matterhorn said...

It's fascinating, how historical figures are inspired by one another.

Ms. Lucy said...

Hi Elena:) I think that this is the kind of thing that makes it so easy to like Josephine. Thanks!

Hi Matterhorn:) Yes, I guess we tend to forget that they were real people too. Thanks!

Ms. Lucy said...

testing..

The Book Chook said...

Thank you Lucy for setting me straight on Heloise and Abelard. I'd only known them as a pair of romantic lovers, never read the story before.

Which gives me a little idea for a quiz for your blog. How about a match the pair quiz? Romeo and ........ etc.

And that gives rise to another thought. How come we know a pair in the order we do? Like, nobody says Juliet and Romeo, we always say Romeo and Juliet. I guess that's because it's the title of the play. But why don't we say Abelard and Heloise? Or Josephine and Napoleon? Does the more famous one come first? Is it gender based?

Ms. Lucy said...

You're too much Book Chook! I've missed you:) As usual your suggestions are excellent and always stirring me onto new ideas..There's just not enough time in a day!

New food for thought- and I might just put that out to Blogland and ask the question. I'm not sure it's a gender thing cause in this case it's Heloise and Abelard (lady first) so...
Thanks- I'll be sure to link you if I pose the question:)

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

There was just so much to see at Pere Lachaise. I wish I had known that they were buried there. Can't wait to go back.
Catherine

Ms. Lucy said...

Thanks Catherine:) What an incredible life- I too will go visit when I go back to France.

Arleigh said...

Very interesting, as usual!

Ms. Lucy said...

You're so sweet:) Thanks Arleigh.

sallymandy said...

I enjoyed this Jeudi just as much as this week's. Thank you, Ms Lucy.

Anonymous said...

I started reading the correspondance of ABELARD and HELOISE. This book is wtitten in French and it is such a joy.Every page is a literary masterpiece I open the book to any page at random and i am chaRMEN

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