Margery Kempe's Meditations

The Context of Medieval Devotional Literatures, Liturgy and Iconography

Author(s) Naoë Yoshikawa

Language: English

Genre(s): Religion

Series: Religion and Culture in the Middle Ages

  • January 2007 · 224 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Hardback - 9780708319109

About The Book

Ever since its rediscovery in 1934, "The Book of Margery Kempe" has generally been judged to be over-emotional and its structure regarded as at worst non-existent, at best naive. Naoe Kukita Yoshikawa argues instead that the book unfolds a creative experience of memory as spiritual progress, and explores Margery's meditational experience in the context of visual and verbal iconography. She provides a comprehensive analysis of Margery's meditative experience as it is structured in the book, paying particular attention to five major meditational experiences that influence her spiritual progress and develop a coherent theology.


Yoshikawa's work is meticulously researched and convincing in its development of the context and the structure of The Book of Margery Kempe. Moreover, her finely nuanced analysis treats Margery's meditations and spiritual progress with a seriousness and sensitivity that allows a different Margery Kempe to emerge, less hysterical and combative than is usually seen in academic discussions of Kempe's Book. Yoshikawa has made an important contribution to Margery scholarship, one that will change the way readers view Margery's Book as well as her spiritual progress.A" Marta Cobb, Leeds Studies in English XXXVIII "This study offers original and exciting insights and certainly breaks new ground." Professor Diane Watt, Department of English, University of Wales Aberystwyth.A"Here is a sensitive and careful attempt to place notoriously emotional and untidy vernacular writings on medieval female spirituality in their social, as well as their intellectual and theological, context, and to explore their underlying structure and assumptions. This study lends a reliable hand to anyone who would like to join Margery Kempe on her journey, as she saw it.A"Gillian Evans, Church Times, Jan 08'Margery Kempe's Meditations is very much to be welcomed. It shows clearly the influence on Margery's spirituality of the liturgical and devotional practices of the church, including the use of visual images and devotional reading. It challenges the view that the Book lacks structure and offers a reading in which Margery may be seen to give a coherent account of her spiritual growth.'Valerie Edden, University of Birmingham, Carmelus Book Reviews

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Naoë Yoshikawa

Naoe Kukita Yoshikawa teaches in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Shizuoka University. She has published widely on Margery Kempe's life and work, including an essay in Writing Religious Women (UWP, 2000).

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