Saturday, March 18, 2017

Review of The Book of Margery Kempe

The Book of Margery KempeThe Book of Margery Kempe by Margery Kempe

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What do I think of this book? I recognize its place in history -- the first extant autobiography by an English person. But how to judge it?

Is it simply the babblings of someone who suffered from mental illness -- who believed herself bound by God to do bizzare things that constantly put her at odds with her society? To do that puts me in the dangerous position of having to apply that label to others, from Abraham to Paul -- indeed, having to discount all religious experience as insanity.

Did she genuinely experience the visions of which she wrote? Whether she did or not,
her perseverance in the face of endless opposition, her courage, is inspiring. Her love of even her worst enemies, is humbling.

But without the constant, tiresome references to her crying spells, I think the book would have been half as long.

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