Paradoxes of Conscience in the High Middle Ages

Abelard, Heloise and the Archpoet

Paradoxes of Conscience in the High Middle Ages

The autobiographical and confessional writings of Abelard, Heloise and the Archpoet were concerned with religious authenticity, spiritual sincerity and their opposite - fictio, a composite of hypocrisy and dissimulation, lying and irony. How and why moral identity could be feigned or falsified were seen as issues of primary importance, and Peter Godman here restores them to the prominence they once occupied in twelfth-century thought. This book is an account of the relationship between ethics and literature in the work of the most famous authors of the Latin Middle Ages. Combining conceptual analysis with close attention to style and form, it offers a major contribution to the history of the medieval conscience.

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