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Margery Kempe: Mother, Mystic, Madwoman Options
Posted: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 12:00:00 AM
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Margery Kempe: Mother, Mystic, Madwoman

Dating to the 15th century and discovered in its entirety in 1934, The Book of Margery Kempe is perhaps the first autobiography in the English language. Dictated to a scribe by the apparently illiterate Kempe, it chronicles her travels as a religious pilgrim and provides an in-depth account of a middle-class woman's experience in the Middle Ages. The mother of 14 claims that after the birth of her first child, she fell into a bout of madness and had a vision that called on her to do what? More...
Posted: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 9:00:32 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/3/2009
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I am carrying my heart~I am carrying my rhythm~I am carrying my prayers~But you can't kill my spirit~It's soaring and strong (Paula Cole's Me Lyrics)***We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We ARE spirtual beings having a human experience.(T.deChardin)***There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. (Albert Einstein)

Posted: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 5:28:01 PM
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Joined: 1/18/2011
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From The Book of Margery Kempe: Introduction
Edited by Lynn Staley

Written probably in the late 1430s, The Book of Margery Kempe is one of the most astonishing documents of late medieval English life. Its protagonist, who represents herself as its ultmate author, was not simply a woman but a woman thoroughly rooted in the world.1 She evinces the manners and the tastes neither of the court nor of the nunnery, but the piety, the culture, the profit-oriented values, and the status-consciousness of the late medieval town. As a member of the powerful guild of the Holy Trinity in the prosperous East Anglian town of Bishops Lynn, Margery Kempe wrote from a secure position within the very world she subjects to such careful scrutiny.2 Kempe examines the fundamental conflicts and tensions of that world by describing Margery's gradual and voluntary movement away from worldly prestige. Margery's disengagement from conventional female roles and duties — and consequently her daring rejection of the values of her fellow townspersons — is a response to her growing commitment to her spiritual vocation. Her attempt to gain personal, financial, and spiritual autonomy is a tale of radical reversal that touches us on many different levels. Margery does what very few are able finally to do, and the fact that she does so as a woman enhances the force of her story — she breaks away.


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