Insomnia leads me down many rabbit trails. After a day of too much rest there was an evening of not enough sleep. Browsing apps, I downloaded LibriVox and Gutenberg. LibriVox is free audiobooks in the public domain. Classics and old radio shows and a huge assortment of old books. Gutenberg is the print version. Somehow I stumbled upon a many volumed collection called the “Library of the World’s Best Literature – Ancient and Modern.” I’m a sucker for huge collections. A quick glance reveals that the collection is in alphabetical order like an encyclopedia. Each entry begins with an essay and follows with a selection of writings. I like to start at the beginning of things so I listened to a biographical essay on Abélard.
Thoughts on Abélard:
- He was undoubtably brilliant. He challenged long held beliefs of religion which got him in trouble. People do not like their beliefs messed with even if they are proven to be irrational. Not much has changed.
- He succumbed to his own ego. He was handsome and smart and proud. Time to get a lady. He set his sights on his pupil Heloise. Apparently their love letters are historical. I haven’t read them yet. I do wish people still wrote letters.
- Life was brutal then. Heloise’s uncle objected to Abélard and had him castrated. Castrated! I suppose that qualifies him for the #himtoo movement. Although, there is speculation that the uncle had good reason for revenge.
Also, because rabbit trails….