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Historia Calamitatum by Peter Abelard
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HISTORIA CALAMITATUM

THE STORY OF MY MISFORTUNES

An Autobiography by Peter Abélard

Translated by Henry Adams Bellows

Introduction by Ralph Adams Cram



INTRODUCTION

The "Historia Calamitatum" of Peter Abélard is one of those human
documents, out of the very heart of the Middle Ages, that
illuminates by the glow of its ardour a shadowy period that has
been made even more dusky and incomprehensible by unsympathetic
commentators and the ill-digested matter of "source-books." Like
the "Confessions" of St. Augustine it is an authentic revelation of
personality and, like the latter, it seems to show how unchangeable
is man, how consistent unto himself whether he is of the sixth
century or the twelfth--or indeed of the twentieth century.
"Evolution" may change the flora and fauna of the world, or modify
its physical forms, but man is always the same and the unrolling of
the centuries affects him not at all. If we can assume the vivid
personality, the enormous intellectual power and the clear, keen
mentality of Abélard and his contemporaries and immediate
successors, there is no reason why "The Story of My Misfortunes"
should not have been written within the last decade.