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    The Book of Margery Kempe

    Bale, Anthony (2015) The Book of Margery Kempe. Oxford World's Classics. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199686643.

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    Book synopsis: A lively new translation of one of the most important texts of the Middle Ages, and the first surviving autobiography in English, with full supporting editorial material. Margery Kempe's Book opens a window into life in the Middle Ages and a distinctive record of popular religion, women's spirituality, travel, pilgrimage practices, and the vibrant world of late medieval East Anglia, England, and Europe. Highly readable translation for non-specialist and student alike that preserves the author's forceful narrative voice. Wide-ranging introduction that discusses Kempe and her status as a woman writer and proto-feminist, the historical context, medieval pilgrimage and travel, audience and reception. Full notes, up-to-date bibliography, chronology showing key moments in the authorship, translation, and reception of the text, map of Kempe's travels, glossary and indexes. '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's Book 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. Her Book opens a window on 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's Book and includes a wide-ranging introduction and useful notes.


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