Reading guide for Illuminations by Mary Sharratt

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Illuminations

A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen

by Mary Sharratt

Illuminations by Mary Sharratt
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2012, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2013, 288 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. In our contemporary culture, we can little fathom walling a child into a small space as a spiritual offering--a living sacrifice. How did this kind of isolation and austerity effect Hildegard's character and later life? How much of her "genius" might have had its genesis in learning to preserve her sanity in such inauspicious surroundings?

  2. Hildegard's magistra and spiritual mother, Jutta von Sponheim, embraced a spiritual path that involved extreme asceticism in the form of fasting and self-flagellation. How was Hildegard able to forge such a different spiritual path for herself, one that embraced the sacred in the natural world and a vision of overpowering divine love?

  3. From earliest childhood, Hildegard experienced radiant visions. If she were a modern child, how do you think people would view her? What kind of "diagnosis" would experts pin on her? Do you think her visions were triggered by a neurological disorder?

  4. Hildegard was deeply shaped by the relationships in her life: with Jutta, Volmar, and later Richardis. What ultimate "gift" did each of these relationships give her.

  5. After reading of Hildegard's many struggles, torments, and triumphs, what would you conclude is her greatest lesson for us today?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Mariner Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Music of the Ghosts
    Music of the Ghosts
    by Vaddey Ratner
    Music of the Ghosts is about healing and forgiveness, but it is also about identity and the revival ...
  • Book Jacket: Castle of Water
    Castle of Water
    by Dane Huckelbridge
    When a whopping 24 out of 27 readers give a book 4 or 5 stars, you know you have a winner on your ...
  • Book Jacket: Havana
    Havana
    by Mark Kurlansky
    History with flavor...culture with spice...language with gusto...it would be hard to find a better ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Manderley Forever
    by Tatiana de Rosnay

    Bestselling author Tatiana de Rosnay pays homage to Daphne du Maurier.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    If We Were Villains
    by M. L. Rio

    An intelligent and captivating story of the enduring power and passion of words.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -