Thursday, February 14, 2008

The greatest PD love story ever told

(Above, Abelard notices a twitch in his finger as he prepares to dispatch a valentine to Heloise)

I know what you thought when you woke up this morning: "Hey! Valentine's day! That means romance and Parkinson's Disease!"

You didn't? Well, you will from now on. Because one of the great romances of all time was conducted in the 12th Century between Abelard and Heloise. Abelard is believed to have had PD.

Of course there was no way to diagnose him, and PD was not even identified as a disease way back then. But having a disease that wasn't even "invented" yet was just one more trail for him to blaze. Abelard was always way ahead of his time- A Renaissance man living in the Middle ages.

Here is a good look at his life and accomplishments.

Abelard was a formidable wit, a teacher, a theologian, a musician, and as a debater, reputed to never lose an argument. He is held today as likely the foremost logician of the Middle ages and was a champion of reason.

But when it came to love he was so logical that when he was smitten by the brilliant and beautiful Heloise, he engineered a job as her teacher, and was castrated by her uncle's goons when the whole sorry mess hit the tabloids,

Heloise went off to a convent and Abelard spent the rest of his life getting in and out of trouble with the Church. Among his pupils were kings and three popes.

The two were to carry on one of the most famous exchange of love letters of all time, setting a standard for doomed lovers equaled perhaps only by those hormone-addled (and fictitious) teens, Romeo and Juliette.

Sure, many a man has lost his heart to the woman of his dreams, but answer honestly guys, how many would toss in their testicles, too?


Anonymous said...

Wasn't PD called "paralysis agitans" (shaking palsey) for many centuries? Before James PArkinson wrote his classic article in 1817? I'm trying to find out more on what may or may not have been done for my husband's great great grandfather who was diagnosed with "paralysis agitans" in the early 1900s. He died in 1905 at age 72. My husband's great grandmother (the above's daughter) may have been developing PD as well, but she died in 1911 at age 44. BTW, I really enjoy your artwork and stories!

Peter Dunlap-Shohl said...

Hmm.... this is a job for Google. I've no doubt PD goes back beyond its first description by Dr. Parkinson. Good luck tracking down the info on your husband's ancestor. It's hard enough to diagnose the living!

Thanks for the kind words about the blog.