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The text presented here remains as faithful to the original Middle
English as possible, without sounding archaic.
Kempe's work is accompanied by an introduction, a map of medieval England, a Kempe lexicon, and explanatory annotations.
"Contexts" collects primary readings that illuminate The Book of Margery Kempe. Included are excerpts from The Constitutions of Thomas Arundel, Meditations on the
Life of Christ, The Shewings of Julian of Norwich, The Book of Saint
Bride, and The Life of Marie d'Oignies by Jacques de Vitry.
includes nine varied interpretations of the autobiography, written by
Clarissa W. Atkinson, Lynn Staley, Karma Lochrie, David Aers, Kathleen
Ashley, Gail McMurray Gibson, Sarah Beckwith, Caroline Walker Bynum,
and Nicholas Watson.
A Selected Bibliography is also included.
The earliest surviving autobiographical writing in English, this narrative tells of a woman's pilgramages through Europe and the Holy Land.
|Manuscript History and Reception||5|
|Questions of Authorship and Authority||9|
|The Book in its Socio-Religious Context||11|
|Margery and the Lollard Threat||16|
|Late-Medieval Pilgrimage and Religious Controversy||18|
|Female Mysticism and the Continental Tradition||21|
|Note on the Translations||25|
|The Book of Margery Kempe: I. Narratives of Motherhood||31|
|The Book of Margery Kempe: II. Discources of Desire||54|
|The Book of Margery Kempe: III. Voice and Authority||76|
|Interpretive essay: 'wonderfully turnyng & wrestyng hir body': Agonies, Ecstasies, and Gendered Performances in The Book of Margery Kempe||105|
|App||Printed Extracts from The Book of Margery Kempe (the print of Wynkyn de Worde (1501))||127|
Posted March 27, 2009
Oddly enough, Norton chose to publish The Book of Margery Kempe in a Modern English translation, while they issued its rough contemporary, The Showings of Julian of Norwich (Norton's title) in the original Middle English. I honestly haven't the faintest idea why this was done, as the work by Kempe, dictated though it was, is still the first autobiography in the English language. I would think that it would be the better choice to present Kempe's work in the original Middle English. It is noted that the translator tried to stay as close to Kempe's original text while adapting the work into Modern English. This is all nice, and it does make the work more accessible for the casual student, but for those who a specializing in works of the medieval era, it simply means that he or she must look elsewhere for a basic source text. As for the critical articles which are the hallmark of the Norton Critical Edition series, this volume is no exception. The excerpts and complete articles serve to introduce the student to the current thought and theory surrounding this text and to supply him or her with at least a few sources handily. I cannot recommend this edition without reservation, simply due to the fact that the language has been modernized. Overlooking that caveat, the other features of this NCE make it a valuable tool for those studying medieval Christian mysticism, feminism, or the everyday life of the English peasant during the Middle Ages.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 29, 2009
No text was provided for this review.