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    The communities of the book of Margery Kempe

    Bale, Anthony (2023) The communities of the book of Margery Kempe. In: Saunders, C. and Watt, D. (eds.) Women and Medieval Literary Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 420-437. ISBN 9781108869485.

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    Anthony Baleߣs essay takes up recent scholarship on the historicity and production of The Book of Margery Kempe and on international influences on Kempeߣs piety and devotional practices. He argues that while the Book itself presents Kempe as an outsider, repeatedly repudiated by communities, and as disruptive, a ߢqueerߣ influence, collaboration is central to it. The essay recovers three earthly communities with which Kempe and her Book successfully engaged: Franciscan, Bridgettine, and monastic, considering questions of literacy, education, and cultural prestige. Kempeߣs experience in the Holy Land, Bale shows, was indebted to her integration into the Franciscan-led pilgrimage community, where she ultimately gained a high and holy reputation. The essay demonstrates that Bridgettine communities and patronage networks in Rome and at Syon also shaped Kempeߣs spiritual experience, while in Norfolk, a textual community including preachers and confessors formed around her. Following Kempeߣs death, manuscript annotation and printing history suggest a community of engaged readers who responded affectively to her spirituality.


    Item Type: Book Section
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Research Centres and Institutes: Medieval and Early Modern Worlds
    Depositing User: Anthony Bale
    Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2023 16:08
    Last Modified: 14 Nov 2023 16:08


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