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Margery Kempe

A Study in Early English Feminism


Verena Neuburger-Noetzli

Traditionally, the feminist movement in England is dated at the threshold of the eighteenth century. A close reading of The Book of Margery Kempe has revealed irrefutable evidence of much earlier roots. To her reputation as a minor mystic and the author of the first autobiography in the English language can be added a greater claim. The Book, Margery Kempe's record of her struggle for self-definition, demands inclusion among the serious contributions to feminist literature.
Contents: Comparison of the writings of the contemporaries: Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe - Search for successors to Margery Kempe's achievement - Comparison of the writings of Mary Astell (hitherto designated the «first feminist») with The Book of Margery Kempe.