Margery Kempe Book Summary - Margery Kempe Book explained in key points

Margery Kempe summary

Anthony Bale

Brief summary

Margery Kempe by Anthony Bale is a compelling biography of the fascinating medieval mystic. It delves into her extraordinary religious experiences and explores the challenges she faced as a visionary woman in a male-dominated society.

Give Feedback
Table of Contents

    Margery Kempe
    Summary of key ideas

    Margery Kempe: The Life of a Medieval Mystic

    Anthony Bale's book, Margery Kempe, is a vivid exploration of the life of one of the most fascinating figures of medieval England. Margery, a notable Christian mystic and pilgrim, is known for her Book of Margery Kempe, the oldest surviving autobiography in English. Bale begins by introducing us to Margery, a married woman-turned-religious devotee, who experienced visions of Jesus Christ, eliciting both awe and controversy in the society of her time.

    Her mystical experiences led her to challenge societal norms, choosing chastity despite her married status and dedicating her life to spiritual pursuit. The book takes us through her journey across England, Italy, Spain, and Jerusalem, marking key episodes of her holy visions and the trials faced as an outspoken woman in the 15th century.

    A Candid Exploration of Faith and Society

    In the middle part of Margery Kempe, Bale delves deeper into Margery's internal struggles and public confrontations. We follow Margery's life as she strikes a deal of celibacy with her husband, has distinctive Christian experiences, weeps and cries excessively in public spaces, and even faces charges of heresy. Her radical spirituality and peculiar conduct urged her peers to question her devotion, accusing her of seeking attention.

    Margery's book, a detailed account of her divine encounters, becomes the primary tool through which she attempts to legitimize her experiences. Here, Bale presents a relevant commentary on the societal and religious norms of Margery's time, challenging the silent roles expected of women and the limited spiritual avenues accessible to them.

    Margery Kempe’s Enduring Resilience

    Despite facing constant persecution and suspicion, Margery's resilience remains commendable. She holds steadfast in her faith and continues to document her spiritual journey, earning her a unique place in Christian history.

    While her experiences and behavior may seem alien to modern perceptions, Margery's dedication towards her spiritual journey, as depicted by Bale, allows us to understand her convictions and resilience. Her ability to persevere amidst the most challenging circumstances is a tale of courage, which till today resonates with readers.

    Legacy of a Medieval Christian Mystic

    As the narrative of Margery Kempe progresses towards the end, Bale discusses how Margery, upon returning from her pilgrimage, writes her book. Difficulties faced in her quest to find a suitable scribe further fortify her resolve.

    In conclusion, Margery Kempe is a captivating blend of a historical record and an in-depth character study. Through Margery's life, it offers an insight into the gender dynamics, societal norms, and religious practices of the 15th century. It tells the tale of a persevering woman, a devout Christian, unyielding in her pursuit of spiritual fulfillment. Despite the countless hardships and societal disdain, Margery's legacy persists, marking her as a significant figure in medieval Christian mysticism.

    Give Feedback
    How do we create content on this page?
    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Margery Kempe about?

    This book provides a comprehensive analysis of "The Book of Margery Kempe," a unique autobiography from the 15th century. Anthony Bale delves into the religious, social, and historical context of Kempe's life, offering insights into her spiritual journey and the challenges she faced as a female mystic. Through meticulous research and engaging storytelling, Bale brings to light the fascinating story of this remarkable woman.

    Margery Kempe Review

    Margery Kempe (2015) is an intriguing exploration of the life of an extraordinary medieval woman. Here's what makes this book worth reading:

    • This book offers a detailed and intimate look into the remarkable life of Margery Kempe, a 14th-century Christian mystic and pilgrim.
    • By examining Margery's experiences and struggles, the book sheds light on the complexities of religious devotion and gender expectations during this time period.
    • Authentic and immersive, the book delves into Margery's journeys, visions, and spiritual encounters, providing a unique window into the medieval world and offering a valuable perspective on female spirituality.

    Who should read Margery Kempe?

    • History enthusiasts interested in medieval religious and cultural practices
    • Readers curious about the lives of women in the Middle Ages
    • Those who appreciate personal accounts of spiritual journeys and religious experiences

    About the Author

    Anthony Bale is a historian and author who specializes in medieval literature and culture. He has written extensively on the subject, with a focus on religious and spiritual practices. One of his notable works is "The Book of Margery Kempe," a study of the 15th-century English mystic and author. Bale's research sheds light on the life and times of Margery Kempe, providing valuable insights into her remarkable autobiography and its significance in medieval literature.

    Categories with Margery Kempe

    Book summaries like Margery Kempe

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    Margery Kempe FAQs 

    What is the main message of Margery Kempe?

    The main message of Margery Kempe is the pursuit of religious devotion and embracing a unique spiritual path.

    How long does it take to read Margery Kempe?

    The reading time for Margery Kempe varies depending on the reader's speed but can typically take a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Margery Kempe a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Margery Kempe is a captivating book that offers a valuable insight into the life and spiritual journey of Margery Kempe. It is definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of Margery Kempe?

    Anthony Bale is the author of Margery Kempe.

    What to read after Margery Kempe?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Margery Kempe, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Mandela’s Way by Richard Stengel
    • Emergency by Neil Strauss
    • The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz
    • The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
    • Things a Little Bird Told Me by Biz Stone
    • Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
    • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
    • The Man Who Fed the World by Leon Hesser
    • Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson
    • The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum