Pious and Pitiful

After reading about Margery Kempe, I am conflicted. I found it a rather easy read compared to Julian of Norwich because this felt more like a story or narrative than the previous text. However, I didn’t entirely enjoy it. Her use of third-person and her incessant descriptions of herself as wretched and sinful were , I felt, overkill. I suppose she wanted to come across as humble and pious, but I rather pitied her. She harped on and on about the hardships she faced, setting up a metaphor and casting herself as a persecuted teacher, a similar role to Christ. The pity I felt became my focus and it distracted me from the content of the narrative, including anything she was trying to teach the audience. Maybe this technique and reinforcement of humility was more effective with her contemporaries. Either way, I do completely understand why she was considered crazy, even if I don’t personally agree with the assessment.

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