Reflections of Common Life

Author : Margery Kempe

The Book of Margery Kempe (Omp), a religious mystic’s story of her spiritual life, is thought to be the earliest surviving autobiography in the English language. Ordinary Wife and Mother Margery Kempe was born about 1373 in Lynn—a town in the county of Norfolk, England—where her father served five terms as mayor. Although born to a prominent family, Kempe, like most women of her time, received little education. Around the age of 20, she married John Kempe, a tax collector, and raised a family. Forsaking Secular Life At around the age of 40, Margery Kempe decided to become a “bride of Christ”—to live in chastity and preach to the world. As a vocal, outgoing speaker, she was quite an oddity at a time when most aspects of society, including the religious hierarchy, were controlled by men. Most women remained at home as wives and mothers. Any woman who wished to pursue a spiritual calling was expected to join a convent or to live as a recluse. Margery Kempe did neither.

Download File