The Story of My Misfortunes

Peter Abelard

The Story of My Misfortunes, by Peter Abelard - click to see full size image

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Historia Calamitatum, also referred to as The Story of My Misfortunes or The History of My Calamities, is an autobiographical piece penned by Peter Abelard, a pioneer of scholastic philosophy in medieval France. Dating back to 1132 or shortly thereafter, this work stands as one of the earliest examples of autobiographical literature in medieval Western Europe, crafted in the epistolary form, undoubtedly influenced by Augustine's Confessions. In this work, Abelard engages in a profound and candid introspection of his life until approximately the age of fifty-four, shedding light on his perspectives regarding women, education, monasticism, the interplay of Church and State, and the societal context of his era. Notably, this piece emerged during a period when Western Europe was just beginning to delve into philosophical discourse. Throughout the text, Abelard underscores the sense of persecution he experiences at the hands of his contemporaries. He draws upon quotes from saints and apostles, even likening his struggles to those endured by Christ at certain junctures.

This book has 19,542 words, and 35 pages in the PDF version. This translation by Henry Adams Bellows was first published in 1922.

Production notes: This ebook of The Story of My Misfortunes was published by Global Grey in 2020, and updated on the 8th May 2024. The artwork used for the cover is 'Héloïse and Abelard' by Charles Durupt.

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