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ERIC Number: ED370134
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Mar
Pages: 31
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Margery Speaking from the Margins: The Subversiveness of Margery Kempe's Rhetoric for Medieval and Modern Audiences.
Herzog, Brad
Noting that different audiences have constructed widely varying interpretations of the figure and work of Margery Kempe ("The Book of Margery Kempe" dates from the beginning of the 15th century), this paper examines the subversiveness of Margery's rhetoric for medieval audiences and for modern audiences and students. The paper first details Margery's background--her marriage to the burgess John Kempe, the birth of 14 children, her visitation by Christ which she interpreted as a sign that she should seek a spiritual vocation, her vow of chastity and subsequent life serving the needy, and the attention she received during the Lollard heresy in England because of her unconventional lifestyle. The paper then recounts the way that Margery employed rhetorical strategies to defend herself against the charge of heresy and why her words and behavior appeared threatening and subversive to the populace and the authorities. The paper also contends that Margery's rhetorical moves function subversively for contemporary readers/students, since her rhetoric disrupts modern audiences conventional notions concerning the author's identity and authority. The paper relates that Lynn Staley Johnson and John Erskine hold opposite opinions about the illiterate Margery's use of scribes to record her life story and then explores the two scholars' studies of Margery's work. The paper concludes with a discussion of several feminist scholars' interpretations of Margery Kempe's rhetoric, focusing on her habit of crying. Contains 14 references and a note. (NKA)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A