The Book of Margery Kempe

The Book of Margery Kempe

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Publisher:  Penguin 

Publication date: 2004 

First published 1985 

Format: Paperback 

Pages: 336 


About the Book:  

The story of the eventful and controversial life of Margery Kempe – wife, mother, businesswoman, pilgrim and visionary – is the earliest surviving autobiography in English.  Here Kempe (c. 1373 – c. 1440) recounts in vivid, unembarrassed detail the madness that followed the birth of the first of her fourteen children, the failure of her brewery business, her dramatic call to the spiritual life, her visions and uncontrollable tears the struggle to convert her husband to a vow of chastity and her pilgrimage to Europe and the Holy Land.  Margery Kempe could not read or write, and dictated her remarkable story late in life.  It remains an extraordinary record of human faith and a portrait of a medieval woman of unforgettable character and courage. 

Barry Windeatt’s translation makes the text accessible for the modern reader while remaining as close as possible to the original manuscript.  His introduction discusses Kempe’s life, the composition of her Book and its striking, down-to-earth style.  The edition also includes notes, a chronology and further reading.   

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