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Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von…
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Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen (utgåvan 2012)

av Mary Sharratt (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
3453155,910 (3.92)29
A novel based on the true story of Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), who was offered by her parents as a tithe to the Church as a young child and who triumphed to become a powerful abbess, composer, prophet and polymath.
Medlem:Carmelreader
Titel:Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen
Författare:Mary Sharratt (Författare)
Info:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2012), Edition: 1, 288 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:to-read, kindle

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Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen av Mary Sharratt

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Once again, historical fiction has led me to a person and a subject I otherwise knew nothing about. I really had no idea that there was such a thing as anchorages and women (nuns) who became anchorites. These women willingly gave themselves to a monastery to be literally walled in, never seeing the outside world, for the rest of their days. In Illuminations, Hildegard von Bingen is forced to enter an anchorage with a girl (Jutta) who is perceived as the holiest of holy. However, her reasons for committing herself to this fate were brought on by a dark secret. Hildegard spends 30 years there with Jutta, watching her slowly waste away. Only after her death is she finally able to break free.

Having had visions since an early age that she thought meant she was wicked, or that there was something wrong with her, Hildegard came to realize in her long isolation that these were indeed visions of the divine. Once she was given her freedom, she was able to speak out about her visions and write about them. With her fellow sisters, who were also oblates of the anchorage, she works for those in monastic life to know love, the love of God, not to live in cruelty such as the life inside an anchorage most surely was.

Hildegard von Bingen became a saint. Her life and work still inspires people today. She had very diverse and complex ideas and many have viewed her as a religious reformer. I am so glad that I was able to learn about this woman. Mary Sharratt has brought to life in great historical detail a story that should be read by all. I cannot express how much I recommend this book. ( )
  TheTrueBookAddict | Mar 22, 2020 |
I deeply enjoyed this work of historical fiction, which illuminated (ha!) the life of mystic saint Hildegard. One of the most intriguing figures in the history of the Christian church, Hildegard was a shining voice who has only recently received full recognition for her character and her work. Sharratt's novel paints a deeply passionate and deeply human woman who courageously lived her faith and led others to do the same.

For a similar approach, see also Frederick Buechner's [b:Godric|76802|Godric|Frederick Buechner|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1389043046s/76802.jpg|74283] and (better, but different) [b:Brendan|76801|Brendan|Frederick Buechner|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388599818s/76801.jpg|74282]. ( )
  patl | Feb 18, 2019 |
It's a kind of miracle that I even began Illuminations, a fictionalized biography of Hildegard of Bingen, by Sharratt given how I was feeling about Ecstasy. But I had just finished a lecture about Hildegard and Bernard of Clairvaux, the two greatest Christian mystics of the 12th century, I was anxious to explore more about her.

Whether the subject was less conducive to such emotional excess, or because it was an audiobook where the narrator -- who did a stellar job, btw -- was able to soft-pedal the histrionics, I found this book much easier to like. I do wish I'd chosen an actual biography, but this one kept me reading, so it wasn't a loss.

Hildegarde's life was strange even by 12th century standards. She was given at the age of eight as an oblate to Jutta von Sponheim, an anchorite at the monastery of Saint Disibod in Germany. Jutta and Hildegard were literally walled up in two small rooms for thirty years. On Jutta's death, Hildegarde chose not to continue as an anchorite, a life she hadn't chosen. Eventually she went on to found the Benedictine convent at Rupertsberg.

Again, I found Sharrat's prose over-wrought, though not to the same extent as in Ecstasy. (At least there were no sex scenes!) but her invention of drama for the sake of drama bothered me. She portrays Jutta as having been raped by her own brother in an attempt to explain away Jutta's masochistic piety. She comes perilously close to suggesting that Hildegard's feelings for one of her fellow nuns, Richardis von Stade, had a sexual component. Now possibly both things are true, I don't know, but, just as I felt Alma Mahler's story was interesting enough without all the hand-wringing and spiritual sexuality, I think I'd rather have known more about the visions, about Hildegarde's writings, and her music than Sharratt's "psychological insights." ( )
  Tracy_Rowan | Jul 9, 2018 |
Lovely novel on the interesting life and career of Hildegard von Bingen. Passionate and powerful. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
Illuminations – Mary Sharratt
4 stars

I was fascinated with this fictional interpretation of the life of Hildegard von Bingen. Her name was familiar to me as one of the few known, female, medieval composers. I knew nothing else about her. I did not realize that she was considered to be a Catholic saint, a forerunner of the reformation and an early religious feminist. Whatever her historical influence, she is a very interesting personality.

Mary Sharrat focuses her story on Hildegard’s initial dedication as an oblate when she was only 8 years old. She provides a terrifying description of the child’s incarceration with the mentally unstable Jutta von Sponheim . It is a story of personal survival and growth under the most adverse conditions. Eventually, Hildegard uses her intellect, talent, and her spiritual visions to negotiate a better future for herself and her sisters. There is an overriding feminist theme of a strong woman working towards personal freedom in a time of great repression. The book reminded me of Donna Cross’Pope Joan and Sarah Dunant’s Sacred hearts.

My only disappointment with this book is that at 288 pages, it is just too short. I wanted more details about the convent founded at Rupertsburg after Jutta von Sponheim’s death. Too little is said about the act of defiance that provides the gripping prologue of the entire story. I wanted to know more about Hidegard’s music, her writing and her entire creative process. The book could easily have been 200 pages longer. I would have been happy to read every word.

( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
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Dedicated to women of spirit everywhere - many blessings on the quest
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Prologue: The most ancient and enduring power of women is prophecy, my gift and my curse.
Chapter I: Green leaves dances in the gardens of Bermersheim, my parent's stone-built burg.
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A novel based on the true story of Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), who was offered by her parents as a tithe to the Church as a young child and who triumphed to become a powerful abbess, composer, prophet and polymath.

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