Margery Kempe

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Kempe, Margery

(kĕmp), d. 1438 or afterward, English religious writer, b. King's Lynn. She was the wife of a prominent citizen and the mother of 14 children. Her autobiography, The Book of Margery Kempe (complete ed. 1940; ed. with modern spelling 1944), was known only in small excerpts until 1934, when the whole was discovered. She was a religious enthusiast whose loud weeping in church and reproof of her neighbors kept her in public disfavor. She traveled abroad as a pilgrim, and her work has rich details of the everyday life of her time. The narrative is occasionally interrupted with visions, prayers, and meditations, many of them of great beauty. The book may be the earliest autobiography in English. See mysticismmysticism
[Gr.,=the practice of those who are initiated into the mysteries], the practice of putting oneself into, and remaining in, direct relation with God, the Absolute, or any unifying principle of life. Mysticism is inseparably linked with religion.
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Bibliography

See biographies by M. Thornton (1961) and L. Collis (1964); study by R. K. Stone (1970).

References in periodicals archive ?
Hsy writes of the distinguished (John Gower, Margery Kempe, William Caxton) as well as the obscure as he analyzes the ever-changing nature of the ways of writing, focusing on London's languages and translingual writing, Chaucer's polyglot existence at home and at the customs house, overseas travels and languages in motion, translingual identities in John Gower and William Caxton, travel and language contacts in The Book of Margery Kemp, merchant compilations and translingual creation, and contact literatures, both medieval and postcolonial.
The second essay, 'Monstrous Masculinities in Julian of Norwich's A Revelation of Love and The Book of Margery Kemp' (Liz Herbert McAvoy), shows how Julian of Norwich and Margery Kemp 'invert those popular cultural narratives which tended to ally the female body with the monstrous, and underscore their [own] often tenuous authority' through 'recasting [the masculine]within the frame of the monstrous' (p.
The texts include Piers Plowman, Pierce the Plowman's Crede, The Book of Margery Kemp and the York Corpus Christi plays.
See Meech's introduction to The Book of Margery Kemp, p.
Margery Kemp vows chastity and begins pilgrimage to Jerusalem
But it is not the text of Chaucer, Margery Kemp and Langland that Schoff considers here but the ways in which printed books solidified the authorial voice as filtered through the editor and printer.
One unusual example of Middle English prose comes from Margery Kemp, an illiterate housewife and mother who nevertheless left a dynamic record of her own life.