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Kempe, Margery

Kempe, Margery (c.1373–c.1440). The manuscript of her memories, which she had dictated in the later years of her life, was discovered in 1934, first published in 1947, and is now considered to be the earliest English autobiography. After the birth of her first child, Kempe, daughter of a prosperous burgess of King's Lynn (Norfolk), suffered a spiritual crisis and was subsequently redeemed by a vision of Christ. In later life she became deeply religious and undertook many pilgrimages to the Holy Land, Rome, and Santiago de Compostella, amongst others. Her devotion manifested itself in excessive lamentation, for which she was ridiculed and imprisoned, and even denounced as a heretic, ‘for some said that she had a devil within her’. A mystic of remarkable courage, she is often likened to Julian of Norwich, whom she knew. Her story inspired admiration and pity for all she suffered in her search for God.

Sandra M. Dunkin

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"Kempe, Margery." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Kempe, Margery." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/kempe-margery

"Kempe, Margery." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved October 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/kempe-margery

Kempe, Margery

Margery Kempe (kĕmp), d. 1438 or afterward, English religious writer, b. King's Lynn. She was the wife of a prominent citizen and the mother of 14 children. Her autobiography, The Book of Margery Kempe (complete ed. 1940; ed. with modern spelling 1944), was known only in small excerpts until 1934, when the whole was discovered. She was a religious enthusiast whose loud weeping in church and reproof of her neighbors kept her in public disfavor. She traveled abroad as a pilgrim, and her work has rich details of the everyday life of her time. The narrative is occasionally interrupted with visions, prayers, and meditations, many of them of great beauty. The book may be the earliest autobiography in English. See mysticism.

See biographies by M. Thornton (1961) and L. Collis (1964); study by R. K. Stone (1970).

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"Kempe, Margery." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Kempe, Margery." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/kempe-margery

"Kempe, Margery." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/kempe-margery

Kempe, Margery

Kempe, Margery (c.1373–after 1433). Author of the Book of Margery Kempe. Born in Lynn, Norfolk, she married young and had fourteen children, but was increasingly drawn to a deeper religious experience. In 1413 she and her husband took vows of chastity. Sharply critical of contemporary religious corruption, she went on pilgrimage and also visited Julian of Norwich. Her life, as revealed in her Book, became one of an imaginatively close relationship to Christ, her heavenly spouse, expressed in visions and highly emotional (some say disordered) devotion, and also in auditions.

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"Kempe, Margery." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Kempe, Margery." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/kempe-margery

"Kempe, Margery." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved October 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/kempe-margery