Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 10118
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Tarvers , Josephine K.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: The Alleged Illiteracy of Margery Kempe: A Reconsideration of the Evidence
  • Source: Medieval Perspectives 11, ( 1996): Pages 113 - 124. Proceedings of the Twenty-First Annual Conference of the Southeastern Medieval Association
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Kempe, Margery, Mystic Lay Piety Literacy Lollard Movement Mystics Scribes and Scriptoria Vernacular Language Writing Women in Religion
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 15
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  • Abstract: This article closely examines the evidence in "The Book of Margery Kempe" pertaining to Kempe's literacy. It finds that she nowhere describes herself as being totally unable to read or write; rather, she carefully disguises this ability, especially when under clerical examination, since admitting to such skills might make her liable to charges in ecclesiastical courts. The article speculates on Kempe's many motives for disguising her literacy, points to slippages in the text where she demonstrates her textual skills, and concludes by examining the motives of critics who persist in painting her as illiterate, hysteric, or combinations thereof. The author welcomes comments at tarversj@winthrop.edu. [Abstract submitted by author to the Medieval Feminist Index.]
  • Author's Affiliation: Winthrop University
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1996.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 10575367
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