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Selected Writings (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Hildegard of Bingen , Oliver Davies
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: £10.99
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Book Description

31 May 2001 Penguin Classics
Benedictine nun, poet and musician, Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) was one of the most remarkable figures of the Middle Ages. She undertook preaching tours throughout the German empire at the age of sixty, and was consulted not only by her religious contemporaries but also by kings and emperors, yet it is largely for her apocalyptic and mystical writings that she is remembered. This volume includes selections from her three visionary works, her treatises on medicine and the natural world, her devotional songs, and fascinating letters to prominent figures of her time. Dealing with such eternal subjects as the relationship between humans and nature, and men and women, Hildegard's works show her to be a wide-ranging thinker who created such fresh, startling images and ideas that her writings have been compared to Dante and Blake.

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Selected Writings (Penguin Classics) + Hildegard of Bingen: A Feather on the Breath of God + Hildegard von Bingen: Canticles of Ecstasy
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (31 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140436049
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140436044
  • Product Dimensions: 19.5 x 13.4 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 283,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) was born into a well-established noble family in Bermensheim and was given to the monastery as a young child. She became a nun and later founded her own convent at Ruperstberg. With papal approval she wrote down her visions and travelled through Germany preaching. As well as her visionary writing, she composed liturgical music and was skilled in medicine, and was canonized after her death. Mark Atherton teaches English at Regent's Park College, Oxford.

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First Sentence
Bernard of Clairvaux was an obvious person for Hildegard to appeal to for support as she pondered a radical change of course in her life and career. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Selected Writings of Hildegard von Bingen 1 May 2005
Format:Paperback
Hildegard was very much a 'one off': she was a twelfth century woman with a voice. Whether she was either a saintly mystic or merely someone who interpreted migraine induced hallucinations, her voice remains a fascinatingly original one and this selection is an ideal introduction to her writings.
The introduction is informative without being either too detailed or too patronising. There is a well-balanced mix of her letters as well as extracts from her longer works such as 'Scivias'.
She was a polymath who wrote, composed and illustrated in response to her visions and whist it is disappointing that there are only a few colour plates of her extraordinary pictures, I would thoroughly recommend this book to all who wish to explore the writings of one of the most astonishing medieval figures first hand.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly epoch-defining experience 16 Aug 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
It isn't very often that one comes across a book such as this, but I felt that I had to write in and comment on the brilliance with which the book has been edited by Mark 'Mak' Atherton. Never afraid to fly in the face of 'popular' (is that not a misnomer?!) Hildegarde scholarship, Atherton's thrillingly original and daringly subversive 'take' on Hildegarde reveals that, beneath the apparently saintly facade, a riot of passion and lust lay heavy upon her heart. I wait with baited breath for Atherton's next page-turner.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard to get through 30 Dec 2013
By Liz
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I got this for research for my next project and found it quite hard to get into. The whole thing about German names in the twelfth century is that not only are they long and complicated in construction, but many of them are so similar one ends up wondering who is who, and losing touch with the central theme of the work. I will continue to use it as a research book, but I don't think it is the best structure for that really.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out of this World 3 Sep 2013
By Tracy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Inspirational, beautiful imagery/visualisations, added to my faith - a wonderful insight and offers hope. I personally dipped into it many times and in different places to get the 'feel' and slowly became more 'involved'.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Medieval New Ager 5 Aug 2002
By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
As a composer, poet and writer on theological, scientific and medical subjects, Hildegard von Bingen has bequeathed us a rich legacy. She is one of the few female medieval composers whose work is generally known and performed today. My favorite interpretation of her music can be found in four tracks on Meredith monk‚€™s album ‚€œMonk and the Abbess.‚€� Atherton‚€™s book provides selected texts from her visionary Scivias trilogy, her medical writings, songs and letters. Interestingly enough, Hildegard is known today in Europe by followers of holistic and herbal medicine on the one hand, and by lovers of classical and medieval music on the other. She is also admired for her life story and for having been a popular and influential author during a misogynist era. Although she was orthodox in belief and criticized the Gnostic Cathars to my dismay, I still admire her spirituality and the feminine expression of it (she saw man & woman as equals) and her understanding of humanity‚€™s unity with nature and the universe. Atherton provides explanatory introductions to her writings, and the book has a chronology of her colorful life, a discography of her music, notes, a glossary and commentary.
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