[Bragg's] efforts to get inside the medieval mind-set make this more than just another historical romance about star-crossed lovers.
Henry James thought historical novels were 'tainted by a fatal cheapness'. Not this one. Melvyn Bragg's account of the passionate and painful love affair between the 12th century radical theologian, Peter Abelard, and the brilliant young convent-educated Eloise springs magnificently to life. No cardboard here but the smell and feel of a turbulent time and a doomed relationship, brought up close by a 21st century one. Thrilling.
The 12th-Century love story of the brilliant scholar Heloise and radical philosopher Peter Abelard has long endured, and here Bragg recreates their tragic tale for a modern audience. It's an atmospheric, thought-provoking retelling.
What is distinctive about Bragg's approach is his emphasis on the intellectual content of the learned lovers' affair. In Pope's poem, Eloise makes just one reference to Abelard's "adored ideas". Here they are central , and so are hers.
[Arthur's and Julia's] reflection on Heloise and Abelard's vividly drawn, complex relationship deepens how we understand its importance. As Arthur says at one stage, the goal is to rescue history from being "just another story". In Love Without End we gain access to politics and religion in another time, but also to human passions that influence us all.
Bragg succeeds in showing how important philosophical debates about the true meaning of the Bible were in this century, and how the rivalries between philosophers became ferociously competitive.
A fictionalised account of legendary star-crossed lovers unfolds in tandem with the struggles of its author . . . it all comes together in a rich tapestry of devotion.
A tour de force - a moving, poignant, compelling tale, wonderfully told. I have never read such true and compellingly depicted accounts of sexual desire and encounter, and Paris, both medieval and modern, comes vividly before one.
Bragg brilliantly re-imagines the legendary love story of Heloise and Abelard, uniting the Middle Ages and today in this thrilling novel.
Melvyn Bragg brings a fascinated attention to the moral complexities of a love story we all thought we knew, but perhaps did not understand well enough. His compassion for Abelard and Heloise makes brilliantly real and present to us their anguished journey from erotic excess towards the mystical sublime.
Bragg has mastered his sources, chiefly the letters of Abelard and Heloise and Abelard's autobiographical Historia Calamitaturn. By the pen of Arthur the novelist, Bragg with his own flair and perceptive imagination tells their story . . . Bragg's ability to live inside the minds of these two mighty philosophical and theological intellectuals. He understands their agonies, their manipulation . . . and persecution . . . Bragg writes his version of this life-long love with ease and confidence. It is a pleasure to read; and to be reminded of Chaucer's fastidious Prioress whose shining gold brooch declares: "Amor vincit omnia."
In this fascinating, haunting evocation of two people aflame with passion and love of learning, Melvyn Bragg dramatises the struggle to find consolation in faith