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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 402

“Eloisa to Abelard” is a 1717 epistolary poem written by famed English poet Alexander Pope, who is commonly regarded as one of the best English poets of the eighteenth century. The poem is inspired by Ovid’s poetry collection—“Heroides,” and it is based on the popular French medieval love story of Heloise and Pierre Abelard, which is actually true. Thus, “Eloisa to Abelard” describes the romantic love between an esteemed Parisian philosopher and teacher—Pierre Abelard, and his beautiful, intelligent and well-educated pupil—Heloise, who is almost twenty years younger than him.

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Basically, Pope’s poem is written in the form of a love letter from Eloisa (a variation of the name Heloise) to Abelard. In these "letters," Eloisa writes of her solitude, her undying love for Abelard, her longing for passion and excitement, and her never-ending feelings of sadness and melancholy. We learn of the joyous and happy times that they spent together, and the horrible suffering they both went through when they were forcibly separated.

After Abelard establishes himself as one of the best teachers in Paris, he and Eloisa start a passionate love affair. Soon, Eloisa’s family finds out about the affair and they do everything they can to separate them. Eloisa becomes pregnant and Abelard secretly asks for her hand in marriage. She accepts, however, when Eloisa’s uncle (Fulbert) tries to expose their secret marriage, Eloisa lies and says that she is not married to Abelard, in order to save...

(The entire section contains 402 words.)

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