Alternate names/spellings: HelÃ¶ise; HÃ©loyse; HÃ©lose; Heloisa; Helouisa; Eloise; Aloysia.
Dates: 1101 - 1164 ()
Heloise is best known for her illicit love affair and correspondence with the influential French theologian Peter Abelard. Though often overshadowed by Abelard, Heloise was herself a brilliant scholar with an energetic and imaginative mind. Living in Paris as the ward of her uncle, she developed a reputation for intelligence at a very young age and quickly attracted the attention of Abelard who became her private tutor. They soon began a love affair. After the affair was exposed both Abelard and Heloise took religious orders. Heloise became prioress at the convent of Argenteuil and later became the abbess of the Oratory of the Paraclete, a convent established by Abelard. In her letters to Abelard, Heloise shows herself to be an eloquent writer of Latin prose. In the correspondence she demonstrates both an extremely sophisticated style of writing and an extensive knowledge of philosophy, theology, and rhetoric. There is some debate among scholars as to whether Heloise actually wrote the letters herself. Most scholars believe that the letters are her own work but a few do not.