Margery Kempe – Questions

My attempt to answer the following questions from students about Margery Kempe

  • What impact did Kempe’s Book have in her own time? Are there other lives of women that have been lost?
  • Is there any way to prove any of the material in the Book of MK?
  • What do I think the sin of MK is?
  • Are there ways in which MK is drawing on religious influences outside of Christianity? More “spirituality” rather than the church?
  • Who was the scribe of the Book?
  • Kempe’s relationship to the baby/children is interestingly familiar. Do you think the writers of Rosemary’s Baby read Kempe?
  • Is the use of “the creature” to allow readers to put themselves in her place? Or is it a recognition of her own sinfulness?
  • Why does Kempe wear white, even though she’s not a virgin?
  • Was Kempe a proto-feminist?
  • Why doesn’t she include discussion of her childhood?
  • OK, what is up with the part of the book where MK says that Jesus wants her to get in bed with him? What’s that all about?
  • Is it possible that Kempe wrote/talked about God because that is all that women could talk about at this time? Why did she decide to write when it was uncommon for women to do so at this time?
  • Was “biography” a genre from the period, if autobiography was not?
  • Kempe performed a miracle (stopped a town from burning). Did the church have to recognize it as a miracle? Were they ready to recognize the miraculous?

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