The book of margery kempe summary

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the book of margery kempe summary

The Book of Margery Kempe by Margery Kempe

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, Kempes 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 womans life, aspirations, and prayers.
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Free summary and analysis of the events in Margery Kempe's The Book of Margery Kempe that won't make you snore. We promise.
Margery Kempe

Margery Kempe

The purpose of the book is to comfort sinners through a story of the inexpressible mercy of their Savior. He states that many worthy clerics had urged Kempe to record her feelings but she would not consent until twenty years from her conversion and only at the express command of God. Her first scribe, a native Englishman who had lived in Germany or the Netherlands produced an incomprehensible text. This priest-scribe, who knew her well, had many scruples about writing, even sending her to another scribe and delaying four years, but he is ultimately reassured through her prayers and his own experience. She speaks of herself in the third person as "a creature," set within the pride of the world who becomes drawn to Christ.

Margery Kempe c. Her book chronicles her 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 was never made a Catholic saint. The first record of her Brunham family is a mention of her grandfather, Ralph de Brunham in in the Red Register of Lynn. By he had joined the Parliament of Lynn.

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After the birth of her first child, Margery has a nervous breakdown, seeing hideous devils all around her. Margery recovers after having a vision of Jesus Christ, and she decides to devote her life to holiness and contemplation of God. One of the first hurdles Margery has to overcome is convincing her husband to live a life of celibacy with her—she succeeds only after having fourteen children. After the failure of a brewing business she starts, Margery becomes certain that God wants her to turn away from the world. Margery faces doubt and temptation, especially sexual temptation, but she perseveres and often receives guidance in her visions. Margery makes several pilgrimages, the longest and most difficult of which is a journey to Jerusalem, with a long stopover in Rome. During the pilgrimage, Margery is shunned by her fellow travelers but is often accepted by the poor, a pattern that repeats itself throughout her life.

These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. The text begins with a poem explaining why she chose to write the book. Margery wants to talk about her experience and how she sinned and then found God again and how through the things she lost she found God and felt as if he was showing her mercy. She calls her soul a home for Jesus Christ and sometimes she questions whether her visions are from God or the devil and she searches for an answer from clerks and priests. They all tell her that her visions are from God and she should write them down. Margery choses to wait twenty years to have someone write down her experiences for her. Kempe talks about her struggles in finding someone to help her write her book and while she is helped initially by a German man, she soon finds out that what he wrote was not accurate.


  1. Corinne P. says:

    Margery Kempe is a well-off middle-class townswoman in the medieval English town of King’s Lynn. After the birth of her first child, Margery has a nervous breakdown, seeing hideous devils all around her. Margery recovers after having a vision of Jesus Christ, and she decides to.

  2. Gimena G. says:

    Summary - A Margery Kempe Analysis

  3. Brandon R. says:

    The Book of Margery Kempe Summary | GradeSaver

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