The Book of Margery Kempe

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 2015 - Fiction - 275 pages
"Alas that I ever did sin! It is so merry in Heaven!"

The Book of Margery Kempe (c. 1436-8) is the extraordinary account of a medieval wife, mother, and mystic. Known as the earliest autobiography written in the English language, Kempe'sBook describes the dramatic transformation of its heroine from failed businesswoman and lustful young wife, to devout and chaste pilgrim. She vividly describes her prayers and visions, as well as the temptations in daily life to which she succumbed before dedicating herself to her spiritual calling. She travelled to the most holy sites of the medieval world, including Rome and Jerusalem.

In her life and her boisterous devotion, Kempe antagonized many of those around her; yet she also garnered friends and supporters who helped to record her experiences. HerBook opens a window to the medieval world, and provides a fascinating portrait of one woman's life, aspirations, and prayers. This new translation preserves the forceful narrative voice of Kempe'sBook and includes a wide-ranging introduction and useful notes.

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Contents

Explanatory Notes
230
Glossary of Offices and Institutions
270

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About the author (2015)


Anthony Bale studies at the universities of Oxford and York and at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has published widely on various medieval topics, including Christian-Jewish relations, the poetry of Chaucer and Lydgate, religion in East Anglia, and fifteenth-century literature and pilgrimage. He is the editor of Mandeville's Book of Marvels and Travels from Oxford World's Classics, and in 2011 was awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize.

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