Show Notes: The Mystic Margery Kempe

Tracy Wilson

Medieval mystic Margery Kempe was the author - or perhaps the narrator - of the oldest known autobiography in English. In an era when men held all the official power within the established church, and most women mystics confined themselves to church walls, she traveled extensively. Accompanying her was her husband, with whom she had 14 children before shifting their marriage toward chastity.

A correction to this episode: I say the tomb of St. Peter is in Santiago de Compostela. I meant the tomb of St. James.

Here's the entire "Book of Margery Kempe" for free on the Internet (in Middle English).

Our listener mail today comes from Nancy, writing about the historical hoaxes episode and "War of the Worlds." We also have a postcard from the Burke Museum, from Allie.

The article we recommended, as a nod to her brief attempt to run a brewery, is How Beer Works.

I did the research on this one, and here are my links:

  • Windeatt, Barry, editor. "The Book of Margery Kempe: Annotated Edition." D.S. Brewer. 2004.
  • Windeatt, B.A., editor and translator. "The Book of Margery Kempe." Penguin Group. 1985.
  • Kalian, Moshe and Eliezer Witztum. "Jerusalem Syndrome as reflected in the pilgrimage and biographies of four extraordinary women from the 14th century to the end of the second millennium." Mental Health, Religion & Culture. Volume 5,Number 1, 2002.
  • Torn, Alison, "Madness and Mysticism: Can a Mediaeval Narrative Inform Our Understanding of Psychosis?" History & Philosophy of Psychology (2011), Vol.13(1), 1-14.

The Mystic Margery Kempe

You can listen to Stuff You Missed in History Class via iTunes, Stitcher or the Stuff You Missed in History Class RSS feed. Follow us on Twitter at @missedinhistory, and you can keep up with us on the official Stuff You Missed in History Class Facebook page.