Variations on the Name of Hildegard of Bingen

The 12th-century German abbess Hildegard of Bingen (German "von Bingen") is renowned as an herbalist, a correspondent with kings, a mystic visionary, a poet, a playwright, and a brilliantly original composer. Recordings of her music abound, including a Euro-disco version of her chants; new-age seekers earnestly prescribe her herbal remedies, and the textbook I used for teaching World Civilizations considers her important enough as a poet to discuss her at some length without ever mentioning that she was also a composer. (She is also often called an artist, but the paintings associated with her were evidently executed by nuns under her supervision.)

Although the frenzy surrounding Hildegard threatens to rival the Virginia Woolf industry in fervor if not in scale, her existence comes as news to most undergraduates, who seem to have great difficulty in remembering her name on tests.

Herewith is a list of some of the many variations on the spelling of her name I have encountered in student papers and examinations.

Prof. Katherine Meyer contributed these gems from her students:

Inspired by this page, Don Noble wrote the following poem in which each line is composed of an anagram of Hildegard of Bingen's name (as properly spelled):

Bed for hiding angel

Hildegard of Bingen
If gardening, behold
Finding age old herb,
Binding her feal god

Binge, oh glad friend!
Heralding bed of gin
Bring God, heal fiend,
Her old fading begin

Hiding blend of rage
Finding her age bold -
Ringing bed, halo fed,
In her fading be gold

Honing fabled dirge
Frigid hag ennobled.

If you have encountered other variations and would like to contribute to this list, please write me: Paul Brians.

This page has been accessed times since December 17, 1998.

Last updated May 8, 2004.

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