Margery Kempe

Teoksen The Book of Margery Kempe tekijä

6+ teosta 1,873 jäsentä 19 arvostelua 4 Favorited

Tietoja tekijästä

The daughter of a respected merchant and public official, Margery Kempe was born in about 1373 in Norfolk, England. When Kempe was in her 20s, she began having visions in which she talked to Jesus, Mary, and some saints. In 1414, Kempe and her husband, a local official named John Kempe whom she näytä lisää married in 1393, embarked on a series of pilgrimages to the Holy Land and throughout Europe. At about the age of 60, Kempe dictated her spiritual autobiography to two scribes. The earliest autobiography written in English, The Book of Margery Kempe discusses every aspect of Kempe's life, including her marriage, religious conversion, and many pilgrimages. Margery Kempe is believed to have died sometime around 1440. (Bowker Author Biography) näytä vähemmän

Tekijän teokset

The Book of Margery Kempe (1438) 1,411 kappaletta, 13 arvostelua
The Book of Margery Kempe [Norton Critical Edition] (2000) 369 kappaletta, 5 arvostelua
How To Be a Medieval Woman (2016) 54 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu

Associated Works

Wise Women: Over Two Thousand Years of Spiritual Writing by Women (1996) — Avustaja — 203 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu
Women on Nature (2021) — Avustaja — 23 kappaletta
Masters of British Literature, Volume A (2007) — Avustaja — 21 kappaletta

Merkitty avainsanalla


Muut nimet
Brunham, Margery
1373 c.
1440 c.
King's Lynn, Norfolk, England
Lyhyt elämäkerta
Kempe is honoured in the Church of England on 9 November and in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America together with Richard Rolle and Walter Hilton on 28 September.



I don't get why people are giving Margery poor reviews. She's fantastic. She's a rare peek into a voice we don't hear often from Medieval Times - an illiterate, lower-middle-class woman.

It all started when Margery had her first child (the first of many). She experienced what we might call post-partum psychosis, but which they called "full of devils". After eight months tormented by insanity, a vision of Jesus brought her back to herself. Thereafter, Margery was able to converse with holy figures - Jesus, Mary, and even God himself, and often became so overwhelmed with her experiences that she fell on the ground, wept, screamed and cried.

Margery switches between lofty religious concerns to petty grievances at the drop of a hat - complaining about how her fellow pilgrims bullied her and stole her pillow, or acquaintances constantly trying to ditch her.

Even though I might not have tolerated her long as a companion, I can't help but admire her special brand of feisty derangement from this safe distance of 800 years. She travelled widely, visiting the Holy Land and Rome as a woman travelling alone (attaching herself to unwary pilgrimage groups or unlucky beggars). She was arrested more than once, and if you believe her, defended herself well.

I especially liked her response upon being told that women weren't to preach, essentially. "I'm not preaching, I'm just talking."

Her husband was a long-suffering fellow, who Margery said sometimes went away when the embarrassment came to much, but always returned in the end. She bullied him into taking a vow of celibacy with her, revealing to the bizarre sex-negativity of the of the Medieval Christian world - in which even consensual sex with one's lawfully-married spouse was considered unclean - and he eventually accepted under the threat of Jesus' wrath.

Margery still complains of the local gossips spreading awful rumours that she was having sex with her husband, and so she was forced to live apart from him to prove her nay-sayers wrong. This backfires when, nearing the end of his life, her husband has a dangerous accident, and the same gossips allegedly accuse her of being responsible for his injury since she wasn't home looking after him like a good wife.

She also claimed to have the gift of prophesy. One of her sons, married and living on the continent, considered visiting her, but was frightened of the dangerous journey. She consulted her visions, and assured him that he would arrive home in perfect health. So he and his wife came, only for him to fall ill and die shortly after arriving.

Margery, of course, reasons that her prophesy was correct, since technically he got home before dying. And anyway, going home to God is the ultimate and best sort of a homecoming.

Inexplicably, she later fell out with her daughter in law.

Margery is fantastic, unique, wacky, probably suffers from mental illness, feisty, insufferable, petty and an all-round character. I don't see how anyone can read her and not laugh, cringe, and at times sympathise at her antics.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
weemanda | 12 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jun 27, 2024 |
Have you ever read a memoir by a woman written in the Middle Ages (or one a man or child wrote in the Middle Ages)? That is what this is, and it is amazing. Late in her life, Margery Kempe, who was English, "wrote" by dictating this book to a priest because she was illiterate. Life in the Middle Ages in Britain, the Middle East & Europe in the 15th Century is expressed throughout.

Her particular story is that she believed herself to be, and was believed by many to be, in direct contact with God, for many years. Many people, including many priests and 2 bishops, sought her out for her goodness & insight/guidance She was abused, threatened, beaten, abandoned, ridiculed and despised by a great many other people, who believed that the Devil or a demon had taken over her body. She expressed the closeness she felt to God by constantly talking about what God & Jesus told her & others to do, and she exploded in wild outcries and weeping that often went on for hours.

So, this is, in effect, an artifact of part of Christian Europe/Britain/Middle East. She once spent months in Germany and had one months-long pilgrimage to Jerusalem with many stops along the way, given the transportation choices available at that time. She had occasion to visit churches in France, Italy, Turkey, Syria and Palestine, among other countries. She talked with citizens of many places and had to wait for weeks, or change her routes, occasionally because of various war as well as one Crusade.

This book opened up a whole new world for me.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
RickGeissal | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Aug 16, 2023 |
Was this book particularly readable? No. Does Margery Kempe seem like an annoying person? God yes. Is she also admirable, sorta, in “never wanna meet her” kinda way? I guess? She certainly is a personality and if you muddle through the weeping and the whole Jesus is talking to me thing, you’ll find a dynamic, thirsty af, willful woman.

Just skim when she starts talking about weeping.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
astronomist | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 3, 2021 |
I felt obliged to try reading this first autobiographical work in the English language, and fortunately it was not as bad as I'd feared. Margery reveals almost nothing about her times (14th century England) but there's entertainment to be had in others' reactions to her incessant weeping, which I can well understand, and yet - since I didn't have to listen to her? - I found her sympathetic. She takes too many daring chances, subjects herself to too much humiliation for me to suspect her of being insincere in her faith.

If her story struck me as funny in places (especially when I forgot how roughshod a society she lived in that could easily make good on its death threats), it isn't out of disrespect for her devotion. I'm made skeptical by the voice of God that sounds almost nothing like him in the Bible, something she doesn't try to do in the brief second part written years later. Her insisting that she bore every trial like a meek saint is a stark contrast with the book itself, which amounts to a written defense and is sometimes even threatening to her persecutors.

Perhaps Margery suffered under a mental illness and this rationalized it for her, maybe it was at least partly an act, or perhaps she really was more blessed than most. It's an intriguing artifact, whichever your view.
… (lisätietoja)
2 ääni
Merkitty asiattomaksi
Cecrow | 12 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 27, 2020 |



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