Daughter of a mayor of King's Lynn, wife of a burgess there and mother of fourteen children, Margery Kempe (c. 1373-post 1438) was also a religious mystic and hysteric, who dictated her 'autobiography' to a scribe at the end of her life. In this history of her life, Anthony Goodman examines "The Book", to reconstruct as much of her conventional biography as the materials allow. Including her spiritual experiences, but focusing most particularly on her day-to-day life, he builds an intriguing picture of bourgeois society in late medieval Lynn, and the wider world of late medieval towns in England and Europe more generally.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Lynn and the Brunham Family 3. Margery and Urban Gender Roles 4. Ecclesiastical Authority and Religious Culture in Lynn 5. The Piety of The Book of Margery Kempe 6. English Travels and Contexts 7. A Wider World 8. Great Cities and Sacred Soil 9. Conclusion Notes Select Bibliography Index
'Goodman's book is for readers who want to know what The Book of Margery Kempe has to offer by way of social and political historical information.'
'Anyone who does not wish to work his or her way through the whole of Margery's confusing and effusive text will be grateful.'
Livia Visser-Fuchs, The Ricardian XVI, 2006
'Margery Kempe and Her World is not the same old Margery. It is far more creative, interesting, and sensible, and makes a valuable contribution to an increasingly overcrowded field.'
'Goodman succeeds both in offering new and plausible interpretations of Kempe's intriguing work...'
'...an excellent introductory text. Students who read it will learn a great deal about important aspects of life in late medieval England.'
Raymond A. Powell, The Catholic Historical Review, April 2006