MUS 138(S) Sibyl of the Rhine: The Life and Times of Hildegard of Bingen

The 11th century German abbess Hildegard of Bingen was one of the most remarkable people of her age. She was a theologian and reformer, poet, composer, artist, author of treatises on natural science and medicine; she corresponded with emperors, kings, queens and popes as well as abbots, abbesses, nuns, monks, and laypeople. Yet she lived most of her long life in a remote cloister on the banks of the river Rhine, and was virtually lost to history until her recent rediscovery 900 years after her birth. This course draws on a wealth of recent scholarship to explore the life and times of this extraordinary woman, using her music as the window into her ideas and her world. Class meetings will include discussion of readings by and about her life and work as well as in-class performance of her plainsongs and liturgical drama. Format: lecture/discussion, two days a week. Evaluation based on class participation, several short papers, and a final project. A field trip may be required. No prerequisites. No enrollment limit (expected: 10-15).