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

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References in periodicals archive ?
Familiar texts are studied: Ancrene Wisse (dated here to the late twelfth century, and seen as a text promoting many Cistercian themes), Richard Rolle's writings (practically all of them, including lesser-studied ones such as Melos Amoris), The Cloud of Unknowing and related texts, Walter Hilton's writings, and the works of Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe. Less familiar texts are also included, cause and effect of Riehle's idea that the so-called canon of mystical literature needs to be expanded, particularly given that medieval mystical texts could never be contained within a single genre.
Christine de Pizan at the French court and Margery Kempe in late medieval England engaged with these sexist, androcentric traditions, reshaping them to expose the pitfalls that "sameness, rigidity and insularity" could inflict on a community.
Margery Kempe (circa 1373-1438) was willful, inner-directed and self-determined--many would say to a fault.
of Margery Kempe is not the text people immediately think of when they
Margery Kempe went to Julian for a consultation about her own visionary experiences in the same year Julian wrote down the earlier text of her visions, which Margery is unlikely to have been able to read.
Margery Kempe was often asked why she traveled dressed in white, but this seems never to have been a genuine request for information.
Tamas Karath's essay, the last in this section, focuses on the 15th-century Book of Margery Kempe, the first acknowledged autobiography in English literature.
The sources tend to be derived from ecclesiastical and judicial sources: statements from councils and synods; libri pontificales, visitation records, and other collections from various diocese; Mirk's Instructions for Parish Priests and Festiai, and, of course, the ubiquitous Margery Kempe. In other words, for a study that is interested in the parish and parishioners one might be surprised at the lack of sources tied to them such as wills, churchwardens' accounts, parish images, and architectural studies.
The final two chapters of the book attempt to identify xenoglossia in a few works of Middle English literature, the "autohagiography" of Margery Kempe and three of the Canterbury Tales of Geoffrey Chaucer.
Adrienne Williams Boyarin's "Sealed Flesh, Book-Skin: How to Read the Female Body in the Early Middle English Seinte Margarete" continues this theme, as do the contributions of Johanne Paquette, who offers a fascinating reading of the Book of Margery Kempe and the marginalia of the text's red ink annotator, and Jonathan Juilfs, who considers the textual transmission of Julian of Norwich's Revelation of Love from the mid-fifteenth century Amherst manuscript through its first printed manifestation in Hugh Cressy's edition of 1670.
WHEN Margery Kempe wrote what is widely considered to be the first autobiography in the English language in the 15th century, it is doubtful she expected female confession to be quite where it is today.
The essay includes an edifying focus on Margery Kempe and the 'virtual' Jew in her visions of the Passion, despite the absence of Jews in England for over a century following their exile in 1290.