×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Book of Margery Kempe
     

The Book of Margery Kempe

4.5 2
by Margery Kempe, Barry Windeatt (Translator)
 

See All Formats & Editions

"You can boldly take me in the arms of your soul and kiss my mouth, my head, and my feet as sweetly as you want"
 
The story of the eventful and controversial life of Margery Kempe - wife, mother, businesswoman, pilgrim and visionary - is the earliest surviving autobiography in English. Here Kemp recounts in vivid, unembarrassed detail the madness

Overview

"You can boldly take me in the arms of your soul and kiss my mouth, my head, and my feet as sweetly as you want"
 
The story of the eventful and controversial life of Margery Kempe - wife, mother, businesswoman, pilgrim and visionary - is the earliest surviving autobiography in English. Here Kemp recounts in vivid, unembarrassed detail the madness that followed the birth of the first of her fourteen children, the failure of her brewery business, her dramatic call to the spiritual life, her visions and uncontrollable tears, the struggle to convert her husband to a vow of chastity and her pilgrimages to Europe and the Holy Land. Margery Kempe could not read of write, and dictated her remarkable story late in life. It remains an extraordinary record of human faith and a portrait of a medieval woman of unforgettable character and courage.
 
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Editorial Reviews

Fran Shaw
...[A]n oral history of the religious life of an English woman...an account of the awakening of a spiritual love "fixed upon God"....[a book for] the student of history, especially church history, medieval Catholicism, and 14th-century England.
Parabola
Library Journal
This classic, one of the first English autobiographies, chronicles the spiritual life of a very unusual, and illiterate, medieval woman. Not an autobiography in the modern sense, the text--dictated between 1432 and 1436--provides sparse personal detail but does give some insight into the beliefs of this holy woman. Kempe (c. 1373-c. 1440) ran a brewery, married, and mothered 14 children before taking a vow of chastity. In her subsequent pilgrimages she learned much through pious conversations with strangers and gained important insights from her communion with God about how her manner of dress and uncontrolled tears at communion would save her from some "secret" sin. Numerous translations of these writings exist, including the Middle English Memoirs of a Medieval Woman (1983), but this text uses modern English and organizes the chapters chronologically, making for a better story. Recommended for popular religious collections.--Leo Kriz, West Des Moines Lib., IA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140432510
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/28/1986
Series:
Penguin Classics Series
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
232,946
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Barry Windeatt is a professor of English at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He translated The Book of Margery Kempe for Penguin Classics.

Barry Windeatt is a professor of English at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He translated The Book of Margery Kempe for Penguin Classics.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

The Book of Margery Kempe 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
A_Sloan More than 1 year ago
Medieval England's Most Controversial Woman Speaks Few female figures were as controversial in the early 1400s as Margery Kempe. Barry Windeatt's translation of "The Book of Margery Kempe" explores the life of this woman who was more than a wife and mother; she was also a businesswoman and religious visionary who dictated the earliest English autobiography known to modern readers. In vivid detail, Windeatt describes Kempe's successes and failures. She birthed 14 children before feeling a religious calling (!!) and her brewery business failed. She was "continually hindered by her enemy, the devil, but continued to [perform] all her responsibilities wisely and soberly." Her leadership and vision makes her a unique woman living in medieval times that were not necessarily safe for her. Few novels depict courage in woman as deep as Kemp's. Her pilgraimage to the Holy Land, dedication to chastity and the heresy trial she endured in England were quite harrowing. Few books are comparable to "The Book of Margery Kempe"; however, Samuel Fanous' book Christina of Markyate is similar. Readers who are more interested in the heresy trial will also enjoy Robert Bartlett's Trial by Fire and Water: The Medieval Judicial Ordeal. No other book delves into Margery Kempe's life as her autobiography does. It emcompasses everything from religion to daily life in modern English, and it does not stray away from her faults. This translation has also been organized in a neat manner, encourging easier reading. This accessible book will fit in great alongside any historical or religious collection.
SS70 More than 1 year ago
Penguin's version of The Book of Margery Kempe stands as a decent introduction to the genre of medieval English Christian mysticism, even if some liberties have been taken. The syntax and sentence structure of the manuscript have been slightly modernized, obviously in an attempt to make the work more accessible to readers unfamiliar with Middle English. Barry Windeatt's introduction serves well as a looking glass through which Margery Kempe herself is placed in her social and religious milieu. For the casual reader, or for the student who is using this edition as a secondary source, this is a valuable tool for peering into the religious mind of the medieval era.