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Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe

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Autor:   •  November 16, 2016  •  Essay  •  446 Words (2 Pages)  •  570 Views

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Megan Lawson

Looking to compare and contrast Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe, we see that there are a host of similarities and differences between the two women.  Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe were both born in the 14th Century and are both considered English mystics and religious writers. Both of them suffered from illnesses, which they both had visions from God. Both Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe are actual personages from history not just two characters from fiction.  Both women were religious pilgrims in their own way, having been traveled around the world to holy lands and shrines. Let’s begin with Julian who was born in Norwich, England, and in her thirties she suffered from a severe illness. While she was recovering she argued that she had experienced more than 15 visions of God and of the Virgin Mary. Revelations of Divine Love is the work she authored which recounts these visions. In the work, she explains the Christian mysteries, insight into her own experiences, and the conviction and intelligence of her experiences.  Both she and Margery Kempe are considered as one of the great English mystics. Julian lived her final days as a recluse at Saint Julians Church in Norwich. Margery Kempe, on the other hand, married a local official and had 14 kids. Six months after birthing her first child she became affected with a mental disorder. She claimed that God had spoken to her in a vision and she was cured during this illness. She then became strict and skeptical of any form of pleasure, becoming abstinent and started taking trips to the Holy Land, Canterbury and Rome. She was seen as enthusiastic and was often found weeping loudly in church.

Both are also considered to be precursors of the modern feminist movement in their attempt to find independence and self-fulfillment working as agents of God. Neither of them tried to fight for civil rights , nor did  they attempt to overthrow the existing social order, however they both made their own path in life and recorded it , it can be said that both thought their own existence important enough to pass on to others. Margery was able to narrow the focus on her goal only picking events she was able to process and use to the advantage of her development that gave her independence through her own lifestyle, she demonstrated freedom she achieved. Julian was also considered a precursor of feminism, but she was different from other women in her period because she wrote down her feelings.

It is said that Julian was  more educated than Margery Kempe, more literate and much better at writing.


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