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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first autobiography in English
This is the first autobiography in English. It was written in 1436, lost for centuries, rediscovered 1934, and is here translated for the first time from Middle English into fully comprehensible modern language. In it Margery Kempe describes her `madness, financial ruin, religious ecstasies, marital problems and dangerous treks to distant shrines' over a period of 40...
Published on 28 April 2009 by Kay Cliff

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3.0 out of 5 stars hard going and monotonous.... continual weeping ...
hard going and monotonous....continual weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth and the responses of others to this....it was not the book I was looking for....interesting when you consider when it was written, but gave me nothing in regard to why people go on pilgrimages
Published 14 days ago by Lynne Diane Smith


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first autobiography in English, 28 April 2009
By 
Kay Cliff (Hertfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Book of Margery Kempe (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
This is the first autobiography in English. It was written in 1436, lost for centuries, rediscovered 1934, and is here translated for the first time from Middle English into fully comprehensible modern language. In it Margery Kempe describes her `madness, financial ruin, religious ecstasies, marital problems and dangerous treks to distant shrines' over a period of 40 years. Strong stuff.
Margery Kempe was married, and had 14 children. She lived in Norfolk in the 14th century. After becoming a visionary and mystic she went on pilgrimages, preached, and was tried. Her `special talent', for which she was both revered and castigated, was the way in which she responded to her visions -- visions such as these:

In chapter 36, God deifies and marries Margery, inviting her to kiss him, embrace him and take him to bed' - a graphically described scene. In chapter 81, she has a vision of the crucifixion and subsequent events: `A little later, I thought I saw our Lady walking towards her home ... Once our Lady was home and resting on her bed it occurred to me to make her a nice hot drink, but when I took it to her she told me to throw it away'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very unusual and inspiring read!, 2 April 2013
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This review is from: The Book of Margery Kempe (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Margery Kempe lived in Norfoldk and many places she mentions in her book bring back fond memories. For instance, the church of St Margaret, Kings Lynne, Norwich itself etc. I did not know about her but I knew about Julian of Norwich, it is strange but I always thought of Norfolk as the most religious place in England and I lived there for a number of years. Margery Kempe was an unusual woman for the age in which she lived. She travelled to the Holy Land, Compostela and round about England. She was very independent and was allowed to do what she pleased by her husband, even refusing him his conjugal rights. In short, when you read the book, all your conceptions about medieval women are turned upside down. And this is only the beginning. She has to be admired for her courage which came because of her strong faith. As everyone is aware, her behaviour was, to most clerics, outlandish at best, and deserving of the pyre for claiming to be in direct touch with heaven. Joan of Arc didn't get away so easily, wasn't the same Bedford around at the time? I loved her simple prayers especially when she asks Jesus to forgive her for her failings just as he forgave Peter and Mary Magdalen. Yes, I could go on but there is a lot to read between the lines and this makes the book a fascinating read all round. One point I wish to make - the front cover is not what is advertised, it's the Annunciation but I visited the Burrell Museum so it's acceptable too.
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41 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for medievalists., 8 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Book of Margery Kempe (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
This is a modern rendering of the earliest surviving autobiographical writing in English. Kempe lived in Lynn, Norfolk, in the late fourteenth-century. She was the daughter of a five-times mayor, a wife, mother of fourteen children and a self-confessed failed business woman. Although famed for the exuberance of her religious experiences, the book also reveals incidental details about Kempe's marriage, work and daily life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of Medieaval piety and a window on the Medieaval mind., 22 May 2014
By 
Ms. J. A. Russell "Jan R" (Birmingham. U.K.) - See all my reviews
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A great source for the history of the period as well as giving an insight into the spirituality of the time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Amazing, 21 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Book of Margery Kempe (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
I read this 6 months ago and I still can't get over the image of Margery's suffering. What an incredible women.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good book!, 1 Jan 2014
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Unlike some OCR copies, the book is in modern characters. It is a good book to be kept by people who are interested in Middle English Literature.
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5.0 out of 5 stars AN INTERESTING AUTOBIOGRAPHY, 12 Jun 2013
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jan s (Norfolk, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Book of Margery Kempe (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
For all those who know and have read the works of Julian of Norwich, this is a lesser known book by one of her contemporaries. Recommended for those who enjoy 14th C literature - Chaucer for example: this is a superb translation, which makes it very easy and enjoyable to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the cover, 25 May 2013
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This review is from: The Book of Margery Kempe (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
I was researching some locla "colour" for a monk character in a museum. This book provided interesting information and background and was an interesting read anyway
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3.0 out of 5 stars hard going and monotonous.... continual weeping ..., 10 Dec 2014
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This review is from: The Book of Margery Kempe (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
hard going and monotonous....continual weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth and the responses of others to this....it was not the book I was looking for....interesting when you consider when it was written, but gave me nothing in regard to why people go on pilgrimages
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 4 Sep 2014
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This review is from: The Book of Margery Kempe (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Difficult to read but very interesting. Well worth the purchase
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The Book of Margery Kempe (Penguin Classics)
The Book of Margery Kempe (Penguin Classics) by Margery Kempe (Paperback - 8 Feb 2000)
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