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Cover for Hildegard of Bingen's Unknown Language

Hildegard of Bingen's Unknown Language

An Edition, Translation, and Discussion (New Middle Ages)

S. Higley


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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (2/1/2008)


The Lingua Ignota, "brought forth" by the twelfth-century German nun Hildegard of Bingen, provides 1012 neologisms for praise of Church and new expression of the things of her world. Noting her visionary metaphors, her music, and various medieval linguistic philosophies, Higley examines how the "Unknown Language" makes arid signifiers green again. This text, however, is too often seen in too narrow a context: glossolalia, angelic language, secret code. Higley provides an edition and English translation of its glosses in the Riesencodex (with assistance from the Berlin MS), but also places it within a history of imaginary language making from medieval times to the most contemporary projects in efforts to uncover this woman's bold involvement in an intellectual and creative endeavor that spans centuries.

Palgrave MacMillan, 9781403976734, 246pp.

Publication Date: February 1, 2008

About the Author

SARAH HIGLEY is an Associate Professor at the University of Rochester, New York, USA.