the book of margery kempe
The first known autobiography written in English was not only composed by a woman, Margery Kempe (c.1373 – after 1439), but concerned her intense religious experiences. However, her account is often discussed more for her description of uncontrollable fits of weeping and screaming during her devotions, for which she was ridiculed and reviled in her time, and pathologised in ours. Although for many years Margery’s Book has been unfairly judged in comparison to her contemporary Dame Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love, a re-evaluaton of her passionate and frank narrative has been taking place. My talk will explore the story of Margery’s extraordinary life, her intimate conversations with her beloved Lord, and the holy gift of tears with which she bears compassionate witness to the suffering of the heart.
Keith Smith researched the Jungian psychotherapeutic practice of ‘active imagination’ for his Master of Applied Linguistics at Macquarie University, and holds a PhD in Medicine (Psychiatry) from the University of Adelaide for his study of the role of language in the experience of ‘hearing voices’. A pre-COVID-19 highlight was presenting on his doctoral research at the 10th World Hearing Voices Congress at The Hague.