Overview (Masterplots II: Christian Literature)
Born in what is now Germany in 1198, Hildegard von Bingen was tithed to the Catholic church at the age of eight. She lived in abbeys as a nun for the rest of her life and rose to a position of leadership from which she wielded considerable influence within the church hierarchy. Her visionary experiences doubtless contributed to her status as a healer, preacher, writer, and teacher of younger women, who became nuns under her influence. Her life as a female leader in a male-dominated church hierarchy was predictably one of constant struggle and conflict, but also often was one of eventual success. Stella Ann Nesanovich has selected the major struggles and successes of Hildegard’s life as the basis for poetic renderings, which creatively and with artistic license bring Hildegard to life for modern readers.
The first several poems, “Prayer,” “Entry at Disibodenberg,” and “The Child Hildegard at Her Needle,” present Hildegard at or near the time of her being tithed to the Church. These are simpler than the later poems, to appropriately reflect the mind of an eight-year-old child. One depicts the child in her loneliness and self-dissatisfaction, seeing herself as a weed outside the abbey. These poems also effectively capture the child’s immaturity in her fixation on the smell of leeks on the abbot and the ugly, toothless smile of the servant and in her inability to perceive their more subtle but more substantial inner virtues. However, they also...
(The entire section is 1022 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of A Brightness That Made My Soul Tremble Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!