BookBrowse readers give Mary Sharratt's Illuminations
high marks with 14 out of 16 readers rating it at least 4 stars out of 5. Here's why:
The nuanced portrait of Hildegard von Bingen resonated with many:
Mary Sharratt's Illuminations
is a fascinating fictional account of the life of Hildegard von Bingen, the 12th century mystic, writer, composer, and Benedictine abbess. The novel contains a wealth of historical detail, but its true strength lies in the complex characterization of Hildegard, who is portrayed as a deeply religious but flawed individual who overcame much in her life to become the only sanctioned female theologian of her time (Terri O). By the end of the book, I felt that the author had given me an inside glimpse into the heart and soul of a brilliant, multi-talented woman who centuries later continues to inspire us. I highly...
Beyond the Book
St. Hildehard von Bingen was an incredibly gifted writer and music composer. Her music is known for its soaring registers and flourishes. As a child, she was exposed to music at the monastery when she heard others take part in the Divine Office. She listened and learned from the interplay between words and sound. The monastery provided a forum for music composition with copyists who could pen the music and a skilled group who could sing it.
The saint believed music was the highest form of human activity and collected them as a complement to traditional Gregorian chants.
A Paris-based ensemble group, Sequentia, has revived the popularity of St. Hildegard von Bingen's music. Sequentia's work on the music has been recorded on seven releases one of which, Canticles of...