The Book of Margery Kempe.

By B A Windeatt

Printed: 2004

Publisher: The Folio Society. London

Dimensions 17 × 24 × 3 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 17 x 24 x 3

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In a fitted Box. Cream paper binding with multi-coloured title and decoration.

  • F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

A lovely Folio book.

A Woman’s Life in the Middle Ages. The dictated recollections of Margery Kempe, born in Bishop’s Lynn (now King’s Lynn), in about 1373. Described by the editor as the earliest surviving autobiographical writing in English, it was discovered in 1934. Striving to live a life of commitment to God, Kempe negotiated a celibate marriage with her husband, and began to make pilgrimages around Europe to holy sites – including Rome, Jerusalem, and Santiago de Compostela.

Margery Kempe (c. 1373 – after 1438) was an English Christian mystic, known for writing through dictation The Book of Margery Kempe, a work considered by some to be the first autobiography in the English language. Her book chronicles Kempe’s domestic tribulations, her extensive pilgrimages to holy sites in Europe and the Holy Land, as well as her mystical conversations with God. She is honoured in the Anglican Communion, but has not been canonised as a Catholic saint.

The Book of Margery Kempe is a medieval text attributed to Margery Kempe, an English Christian mystic and pilgrim who lived at the turn of the fifteenth century. It details Kempe’s life, her travels, her accounts of divine revelation including her visions of interacting with the Trinity, particularly Jesus, as well as other biblical figures. These interactions take place through a strong, mental connection forged between Kempe and said biblical figures. The book is also notable for her claiming to be present at key biblical events such as the Nativity, shown in chapter six of Book I, and the Crucifixion.

The Book of Margery Kempe is currently in the possession of the British Library. The manuscript has been digitized and can be viewed online. Written in Gothic Cursive hand, it consists of 124 folio pages, measuring 205 x 140mm. Four distinct hands have been identified writing annotations and making illustrations within the marginalia of the manuscript, the most recognizable script being one made in red ink. It could be concluded through the effort of making of these annotations that Kempe’s book was frequently used and valued as a text, perhaps its contents viewed with admiration for its religious fervor. The underlining and highlighting by various hands demonstrates the aspects of her text that are valued, perhaps even to draw away from Kempe’s more radical and disruptive facets.

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