This week on The Medieval Podcast, Danièle explores the life of Margery Kempe: a 15th-century mystic said to be the first female autobiographer in English, and one of medieval Europe’s most colourful – and memorable – figures.
The richness of Margery’s multi-sensory experience, and the care with which it is depicted, is illuminated by and illuminates the experience of contemporary voice-hearers, offering a powerful alternative perspective to often reductive bio-medical understandings.
This dissertation examines the representation of suffering in medieval affective devotional texts.
This paper appraises place pilgrimage to Jerusalem in two late-medieval English texts: The Itineraries of William Wey and The Book of Margery Kempe.
Margery Kempe was a self-proclaimed holy woman, visionary, mystic and medieval pilgrim. She is also unique because although she was not proficient at reading and writing, she was determined to record her visions, journeys and spiritual experiences
There are few medieval texts I find so entertaining as The Book of Margery Kempe, the fifteenth-century story of a seemingly ordinary woman of Bishops Lynn, England, whose life was transformed by visions of Jesus. T
Alison Torn investigates the strange case of Margery Kempe
My interview with fiction author, SD Sykes about her fantastic medieval crime novel, Plague Land.
The late fourteenth-century romance Sir Launfal narrates the financial, martial and erotic adventures of one of the lesser-known knights of the Arthurian court.
It is evident in Margery Kempe’s visions of holy family life that Virgin and Christ dyad is an oedipal fantasy of the child who is the father of himself.
This is not Margery Kempe’s first run-in with the law. Already, she has been accused multiple times of heresy, of wantonness, and of being a general pest.
In a Christian society that perceived of a cosmic struggle between good and evil, madness was evidence of a battle lost.
The earliest surviving reference to the Corpus Christi festival in York is dated 1322, when Archbishop William Melton commended it as „the glorious feast of the most precious sacrament of the flesh and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ‟. In 1408 the York Guild of Corpus Christi was established „as a confraternity of chaplains and lay persons, with the encouragement of the city government, probably to form the focus of the civic Corpus Christi Day procession‟.
My intention is not to continue the discourse on such practices but to analyze narrative content in relation to the politics of theology that had an impact on lay writers and their artistic creativity concerning the search for selfhood from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries.
This dissertation “Rhetorics of Pain and Desire: The Writings of the Middle English Mystics,” seeks to explore the connections between desire and pain in the writings of Richard Rolle, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe and Walter Hilton. All four writers develop a rhetoric that allows them to use pain and/or desire as a catalyst through which their writing becomes embodied.
This thesis argues that while patriarchy was certainly present in England during the late medieval period, women of the middle and upper classes were able to exercise agency to a certain degree through using both the patriarchal bargain and an economy of makeshifts
Developing queer history through the concept of affective connection—a touch across time—and through the intentional collapse of conventional historical time, I wanted in Getting Medieval to help queer studies re- spond to such desire.
Madness has been long misrepresented in medieval studies. Assertions that conceptions of mental illness were unknown to medieval people, or that all madmen were assumed to be possessed by the devil, were at one time common in accounts of medieval society.
While the Medieval ascription to madness is known, in the light of recent psychological and medical insights, I will explore alternative explanations for the extreme behaviour of devout women in the Middle Ages.
Pilgrimage, after Whitby, and before Vatican II, was a secular activity, a performance of piety by the laity, not by the clergy; although there were a few exceptions.7 Chaucer’s Monk, Friar, Prioress, Nun, Priest, Summoner, Pardoner and Parson ought not to be here. Their presence is outrageous comedy. Inns were forbidden to the cloistered clergy who, if they had to travel, were enjoined to stay in other monastic establishments along their route.
Isolda Parewastell from Somerset, who was in Jerusalem in 1365, fitted into this fourteenth-century pattern. Despite the risks involved, women pilgrims were inspired by an instinct for travel and change, as well as by a sense of religious obligation and the hope of spiritual reward.
It is my intention not only to explore the discourse of love and desire in the fourteenth century, but also to examine how the ideas have been altered from those present in the Anglo-Norman and Latin material that was written or widely read in twelfth-century England and what pressures and influences may have brought about these changes.
Critics have long recognized that the religious orders played an important part in the production of vernacular devotional literature in late medieval England. The orders were well suited to this task. Reading and writing were an important part of the life of those who lived under a rule.
In Producing the Middle English Corpus: Confession and Medieval Bodies, I argue that confessional discourse played an important role in the creation of the Middle English canon.