Although it is believed that the romances of the Middle Ages had an insignificant effect on the lives of the people who lived during the period, this chapter will focus on the most famous medieval romance—that between Abelard and Heloise. Although the love story does not really end on a cheerful note, it was well known throughout the later Middle Ages, and became part of its literature and history through a series of letters between Abelard and Heloise even after their separation. These letters, combined into a body of text, have been studied by scholars from various points of view. They provided courtly love with a cardinal reality, in the form of the experiences of Abelard and Heloise, which can be idealized by later versions of courtly and Romantic love for their own purposes.
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