The Book of Margery Kempe (TEAMS Middle English Texts)
by Margery Kempe
ISBN 1879288729 (1-879288-72-9)
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Softcover, Western Michigan Univ, 1996
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Book summary: Because Margery Kempe was illiterate, her book was dictated to two scribes, showing an extraordinary recall of outer events and of her inner life over 40 years. Most of the manuscript disappeared, reappearing in 1934. Since then, two translations have been published. This book puts Margery's Middle English into fully comprehensible English. Margery was born in Kings Lynn around 1373, daughter of the mayor. Herself married to a brewer, she had 14 children and was worldly and ambitious. However, after her conversion, her life was devoted to seeking spiritual counsel (including that of Julian of Norwich) and going on pilgrimage. She gives an account of intense torments and joys, firmly believing that this tumult of inner experience came directly from God. She describes in detail her madness, financial ruin, religious ecstasies, marital problems and dangerous treks to distant shrines. This book is a portrait of a strange character who lived a colourful life in a turbulent, often tragic world. It has historical, biographical and feminist, as well as religious, interest and should be useful to students of English, history and theology. Two maps trace her travels in England and her pilgrimage overseas.
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