The Book of Margery Kempe is the extraordinary account of a medieval wife, mother, and mystic. The earliest autobiography in English, It describes Kempe's transformation from businesswoman to pilgrim, her visions, hostile encounters with clergy and travels to holy sites abroad. This new translation provides full introduction and notes.
'Alas that I ever did sin! It is so merry in Heaven!' 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, Kempe's 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 woman's life, aspirations, and prayers. This new translation preserves the forceful narrative voice of Kempe's Book and includes a wide-ranging introduction and useful notes. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
A wide-ranging collection of writings by and about religious women presenting some of the most original and compelling literature of the middle ages.Highlights of this edition include Marguerite Porete's allegorical poem 'The Mirror of Simple Souls', a dialogue between Love and Soul that was condemned as heretical; an account by a male ecclesiastic of Christine the Astonishing, who was resurrected at her own funeral; and the revelations received by Bridget of Sweden, the first woman to found a religious order.
Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Book for 1999 Karma Lochrie demonstrates that women were associated not with the body but rather with the flesh, that disruptive aspect of body and soul which Augustine claimed was fissured with the Fall of Man. It is within this framework that she reads The Book of Margery Kempe, demonstrating the ways in which Kempe exploited the gendered ideologies of flesh and text through her controversial practices of writing, her inappropriate-seeming laughter, and the most notorious aspect of her mysticism, her "hysterical" weeping expressions of religious desire. Lochrie challenges prevailing scholarly assumptions of Kempe's illiteracy, her role in the writing of her book, her misunderstanding of mystical concepts, and the failure of her book to influence a reading community. In her work and her life, Kempe consistently crossed the barriers of those cultural taboos designed to exclude and silence her. Instead of viewing Kempe as marginal to the great mystical and literary traditions of the late Middle Ages, this study takes her seriously as a woman responding to the cultural constraints and exclusions of her time. Margery Kempe and Translations of the Flesh will be of interest to students and scholars of medieval studies, intellectual history, and feminist theory.
A Vision Showed to a Devout Woman and A Revelation of Love
Author: Nicholas Watson,Jacqueline Jenkins
Publisher: Penn State Press
Category: Literary Criticism
Julian of Norwich (ca. 1343&–ca. 1416), a contemporary of Geoffrey Chaucer, William Langland, and John Wyclif, is the earliest woman writer of English we know about. Although she described herself as &“a simple creature unlettered,&” Julian is now widely recognized as one of the great speculative theologians of the Middle Ages, whose thinking about God as love has made a permanent contribution to the tradition of Christian belief. Despite her recent popularity, however, Julian is usually read only in translation and often in extracts rather than as a whole. This book presents a much-needed new edition of Julian&’s writings in Middle English, one that makes possible the serious reading and study of her thought not just for students and scholars of Middle English but also for those with little or no previous experience with the language. &• Separate texts of both Julian&’s works, A Vision Showed to a Devout Woman and A Revelation of Love, with modern punctuation and paragraphing and partly regularized spelling. &• A second, analytic edition of A Vision printed underneath the text of A Revelation to show what was left out, changed, or added as Julian expanded the earlier work into the later one. &• Facing-page explanatory notes, with translations of difficult words and phrases, cross-references to other parts of the text, and citations of biblical and other sources. &• A thoroughly accessible introduction to Julian&’s life and writings. &• An appendix of medieval and early modern records relating to Julian and her writings. &• An analytic bibliography of editions, translations, scholarly studies, and other works. The most distinctive feature of this volume is the editors&’ approach to the manuscripts. Middle English editions habitually retain original spellings of their base manuscript intact and only emend that manuscript when its readings make no sense. At once more interventionist and more speculative, this edition synthesizes readings from all the surviving manuscripts, with careful justification of each choice involved in this process. For readers who are not concerned with textual matters, the result will be a more readable and satisfying text. For Middle English scholars, the edition is intended both as a hypothesis and as a challenge to the assumptions the field brings to the business of editing.
In his Book of Marvels and Travels, Sir John Mandeville describes a journey from Europe to Jerusalem and on into Asia, and the many wonderful and monstrous peoples and practices in the East. A captivating blend of fact and fantasy, Mandeville's Book is newly translated in an edition that brings us closer to Mandeville's worldview.
England, 1255. What could drive a girl on the cusp of womanhood to lock herself away from the world forever? Sarah is just seventeen when she chooses to become an anchoress, a holy woman shut away in a cell that measures only seven by nine paces, at the side of the village church. Fleeing the grief of losing a much-loved sister in childbirth as well as pressure to marry the local lord's son, she decides to renounce the world--with all its dangers, desires, and temptations--and commit herself to a life of prayer. But it soon becomes clear that the thick, unforgiving walls of Sarah's cell cannot protect her as well as she had thought. With the outside world clamoring to get in and the intensity of her isolation driving her toward drastic actions, even madness, her body and soul are still in grave danger. When she starts hearing the voice of the previous anchoress whispering to her from the walls, Sarah finds herself questioning what she thought she knew about the anchorhold, and about the village itself. With the lyricism of Nicola Griffith's Hild and the vivid historical setting of Hannah Kent's Burial Rites, Robyn Cadwallader's powerful debut novel tells an absorbing story of faith, desire, shame, fear, and the very human need for connection and touch. Compelling, evocative, and haunting, The Anchoress is both quietly heartbreaking and thrillingly unpredictable.
The Autobiography and a Manifesto of a French Monk from theTime of the Crusades
Author: Guibert of Nogent
Category: Biography & Autobiography
The first Western autobiography since Augustine's Confessions, the Monodies is set against the backdrop of the First Crusade and offers stunning insights into medieval society. As Guibert of Nogent intimately recounts his early years, monastic life, and the bloody uprising at Laon in 1112, we witness a world-and a mind-populated by royals, heretics, nuns, witches, and devils, and come to understand just how fervently he was preoccupied with sin, sexuality, the afterlife, and the dark arts. Exotic, disquieting, and illuminating, the Monodies is a work in which the dreams, fears, and superstitions of one man illuminate the psychology of an entire people. It is joined in this volume by On the Relics of Saints, a theological manifesto that has never appeared in English until now. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators. From the Trade Paperback edition.