Item description for Hildegard of Bingen: The Woman of Her Age by Fiona Maddock...
Overview An intriguing portrait of the twelfth-century religious figure examines the life of abbess Hildegard of Bingen in context to the medieval world and describes her enduring contributions to music, science, theology, and mysticism, from her acclaimed musical compositions to her remarkable writings on the nature of sexuality, the medicinal use of plants, and Christian mysticism. Reprint.
Publishers Description The twelfth-century German abbess Hildegard of Bingen would have been remarkable in any age. Today, her growing reputation as a composer of religious music has overshadowed the astonishing variety of her accomplishments and her part in the scientific, cultural, and theological revolution of the pre-Renaissance, from religion and mysticism to medicine and sex. Scivias, her book of apocalyptic visions, with its extraordinary and compelling illustrations, would alone have been enough to endure her lasting fame. The story of Hildegard's life, from her entry into a monastery at Disibodenberg on the Rhine as a child, through the exploration of her pent-up genius in middle years, to her eventual admission to the German canon of saints, is here told against a rich background of the years of the Crusades, the flowering of monasticism, papal schism and heresy. The forceful character that emerges challenges any image of demurely subjugated womanhood associated with the period. Hildegard's story is as fascinating as that of any figure in the Middle Ages, and she and her musical legacy continue to be the subject of debate a thousand years later.
"From the Hardcover edition."
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.4" Width: 5.5" Height: 1" Weight: 1.05 lbs.
Release Date May 20, 2003
Edition Us Pbk
ISBN 0385498683 ISBN13 9780385498685
Availability 0 units.
More About Fiona Maddock
Fiona Maddocks, an award-winning writer on music, isclassical music critic of The Observer, UK. She writes for a number of publications and broadcasts regularly. Her book on Harrison Birtwistle, Wild Tracks - A Conversation Diary was published by Faber and Faber Ltd.in 2014
Reviews - What do customers think about Hildegard of Bingen: The Woman of Her Age?
Good work, not "the best," though Jan 7, 2004
This book is the well-written, scholarly (but not too heavy) tale of the life of one courageous and troubled twelfth century Benedictine nun whom most of us have heard of but really know little about. She's the darling of a hundred modern "movements" -- everyone from feminists to religious musicians -- but she's much more -- and less -- than the typical speculations and carefully chosen facts present.
The truth is that Hildegard "von Bingen" was a woman of paradoxes: a hardline conservative Catholic who acknowledged the "weakness" of her sex yet fought for recognition in the Church; a deeply pious nun who appealed to the rule of St. Benedict and yet contradicted it when it suited her purposes; a woman dedicated to the religious life and eschewing the political, yet intricately involved in political correspondence and the shaping of policy.
Hildegard is fascinating, and Fiona Maddock's retelling of what we really know (and don't know) of her life is quite good. It goes into great detail, sometimes on tangents seemingly unrelated to Hildegard, and occasionally the writing wanders off so far that the reader becomes frustrated. Nevertheless, the book is loosely chronological, so it's not too hard to get back on track, and the writing itself is accomplished. Many of the tangents, however annoying, cast a welcome light on the customs and Church doctrine (different in many respects from today, or later ages) of Hildegard's day. Altogether, this book is intriguing and a good read, but be prepared for a few slow-downs.
History at its best Jun 3, 2003
There has been more books written about Hildegard than any other medieval mover and shaker in the last few years. This book just happens to be the apex of this new found trend, as with a cool head and a sound heart the author has displayed an enormous ability at extracting truth from fiction in this informative account of her life. With splashes of descriptive writing and an elegant historical style the author sketches out the various aspects of her life, from her extraordinary visions to her bumps and bruises from fighting the established church on occasions, from her bending of the rules slightly (in regards to women not preaching) to her bouts of illness, in all this the author is able to keep her skepticism and objectivism to commendable level.
At first when picking up this book I thought (as my opinion had been soured by crusading feminism before) that this might be yet another author looking at Hildegard as a shining beacon of femininity in the twelve century and extort what only can be regarded as propaganda, but I'm glad to report that I was not only wrong but this book has left a lasting impression that will take a long time to forget. Vivid, compelling and constantly witty, I do not recommend you read this book, I demand you read it.