The Book of Margery Kempe
BBC Two | Art That Made Us | Series 1: Revolution of the Dead (2022)
Margery Kempe: 15th Century Pilgrim in Conflict with religion.
'Performed with brilliant conviction.' Russel Barnes (Director)
Actress Natasha Langridge performs excerpts from the first autobiography in English, by medieval mystic Margery Kempe, whose rebellious character is explored by experts.
About Margery Kempe:
The Book of Margery Kempe is considered a classic of medieval literature, but is also considered significant in depicting the life of a woman in the Middle Ages, the lucrative pilgrimage business & travel, and the powerful role religion played in the lives of the people.
Margery Kempe (née Brunham) was extraordinary in many ways: after the birth of her first child (the first of 14) she had frequent visions of Jesus. She also travelled widely, was accused of heresy and finally overcame adversity and the barriers of illiteracy by having her experiences captured in writing. Yet one of the most intriguing aspects of Margery’s life story is her ordinariness.
She was a middle-class woman from a prosperous town – Lynn in East Anglia. The daughter of the mayor, she had several jobs, including working as a horse-mill-owner and as a brewer. The experiences of people like this rarely survive from the Middle Ages, and it is the unashamed earthiness of Margery’s Book that has captivated readers since the discovery of the only surviving manuscript of her work in 1934.
Performed by Natasha Langridge