Notes from a small island
A weblog by Jonathan Ali

Saturday, February 12, 2005  

The love stories that touch us most deeply are punctuated by human frailty. Look at them up close and you see the fault lines, compromises and anticlimaxes. At the beginning of Shakespeare's play, Romeo is just as intemperately in love with a girl called Rosaline as he is later with Juliet. Tristan and Isolde's passion could well be the fruit of substance abuse, of a love potion they drank unknowingly. And Abelard and Heloise? They weren't equally strong or passionate or generous. Still, they put their frailties together and begat a perfect myth, as well as something perhaps even more precious -- a surprising, splendid, fractured reality.

-- Cristina Nehring, in a NY Times essay on Abelard and Heloise, whose centuries-old "perfect myth" is the subject of a number of recent books (and gave the best film of 2004 its title, via Pope: "How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!/The world forgetting, by the world forgot/Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!/Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd").

posted by Jonathan | 11:41 AM 0 comments


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