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Reimagining this creature: hospitality and autohagiography in the visions of Margery Kempe

journal contribution
posted on 26.10.2021, 15:26 by Joan FitzpatrickJoan Fitzpatrick
The Book of Margery Kempe tells the apparently true story of a medieval wife and mother of fourteen children who, following religious conversion, leaves her old life behind in order to dedicate herself to God. Apparently dictated to scribes by Kempe herself, the Book traces her treatment at the hands of her contemporaries, many of them hostile to her claims of religious visions and her odd behaviour as a result. While there has been some critical work done on the significance of food and drink in the Book, little has been observed about the role of food and drink in Kempe's visions. Specifically, critics have hitherto overlooked how it is via food, drink and performing the role of hostess in her visions that Kempe presented herself as an active and valuable participant in the Christian narrative and thus worthy of sainthood. Kempe is often unfavourably compared to Julian of Norwich, the calm and intellectual mystic who lived the solitary and dignified life of the anchoress. This article argues that the two women are more alike than is usually acknowledged. Kempe too withdrew from the world in her visions, in order to play a role in the Christian story and so promote her special status as a holy woman and her own narrative as a work of late medieval autohagiography.

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • English

Published in

History

Volume

106

Issue

372

Pages

561-577

Publisher

Wiley

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© The Author. History © The Historical Association and John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Publisher statement

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: FITZPATRICK, J., 2021. Reimagining this creature: hospitality and autohagiography in the visions of Margery Kempe. History, 106(372), pp. 561-577, doi:10.1111/1468-229X.13204, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-229X.13204. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.

Acceptance date

16/09/2021

Publication date

2021-10-11

Copyright date

2021

ISSN

0018-2648

eISSN

1468-229X

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Joan Fitzpatrick. Deposit date: 20 September 2021

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