The Book of Margery Kempe

Overview

Kempe's work is
accompanied by an introduction, a map of medieval England, a Kempe
lexicon, and ...
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Overview

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.

"Criticism"
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.

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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
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
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Abbreviations
Introduction 1
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
Select Bibliography 133
Index 146
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