Encountering The Book of Margery Kempe

Edited by Laura Kalas and Laura Varnam

Encountering <i>The Book of Margery Kempe</i>


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4661-8
  • Pages: 328
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: November 2021
  • BIC Category: Medieval Literature, Literature, 15th century, c 1400 to c 1499, England, European history: medieval period, middle ages, Literary studies: ancient & classical, RELIGION / Mysticism, HISTORY / Medieval, LITERARY CRITICISM / Medieval, Christian Mysticism, Humanities / Medieval history, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: classical, early & medieval
  • Series: Manchester Medieval Literature and Culture


This innovative critical volume brings the study of Margery Kempe into the twenty-first century. Structured around four categories of 'encounter' - textual, internal, external and performative - the volume offers a capacious exploration of The Book of Margery Kempe, characterised by multiple complementary and dissonant approaches. It employs a multiplicity of scholarly and critical lenses, including the intertextual history of medieval women's literary culture, medical humanities, history of science, digital humanities, literary criticism, oral history, the global Middle Ages, archival research and creative re-imagining. Revealing several new discoveries about Margery Kempe and her Book in its global contexts, and offering multiple ways of reading the Book in the modern world, it will be an essential companion for years to come.


'... the very importance of the Book, an importance gestured to in each of these essays, demands that we come to terms with its history--scholarly, paleographical, and cultural--in order to think through the questions it poses and the appeal it has. This is a good volume of essays with which to continue the process of exploration and the joys of discovery.'
The Medieval Review


Introduction: Encountering The Book of Margery Kempe in the twenty-first century - Laura Kalas and Laura Varnam
Part I: Textual encounters
1 Before Margery: The Book of Margery Kempe and its antecedents - Diane Watt
2 The intertextual dialogue and conversational theology of Mechthild of Hackeborn and Margery Kempe - Liz Herbert McAvoy and Naoë Kukita Yoshikawa
3 The prayers of Margery Kempe: a reassessment - Josephine A. Koster
Part II: Internal encounters
4 The Book of Margery Kempe: autobiography in the third person - Ruth Evans
5 Margery Kempe as de-facement - Johannes Wolf
6 Margery Kempe, oral history, and the value of intersubjectivity - Katherine J. Lewis
7 'A booke of hyr felyngys': exemplarity and Margery Kempe's encounters of the heart - Laura Varnam
Part III: Encountering the world
8 Margery Kempe's home town and worthy kin - Susan Maddock
9 A women's network in fifteenth-century Rome: Margery Kempe encounters 'Margaret Florentyne' - Anthony Bale and Daniela Giosuè
10 Margery Kempe, racialised soundscapes, sonic warss and cosmopolitan Jerusalem - Dorothy Kim
11 The materialisation of Book II: elements of Margery Kempe's world - Laura Kalas
Part IV: Performative encounters
12 Writing performed lives: Margery Kempe meets Marina Abramovic - Sarah Salih
13 Recreating and reassessing Margery and Julian's encounter - Tara Williams


Laura Kalas is Senior Lecturer in Medieval Literature at Swansea University
Laura Varnam is Lecturer in Old and Middle English Literature at University College, Oxford

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