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The Story of My Misfortunes (or: Historia Calamitatum)

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  • United States
  • English

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Autobiographies from remote historical periods can be especially fascinating.Modes of self-presentation vary greatly across the centuries, as of course doesthe very concept of Self.
Peter Abelard, the medieval philosopher and composer, here gives a concisebut vivid survey of his notoriously calamitous life. The work is couched in theform of a letter to an afflicted friend. Abelard's abrasively competitive, oftenarrogant personality emerges at once in the brief Foreword, where he informs hiscorrespondent: "(I)n comparing your sorrows with mine, you may discover thatyours are in truth nought.. and so shall you come to bear them the more easily."(Summary by Martin Geeson)
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