ABSTRACT

Margery Kempe scholarship has not given enough credit to medieval conduct books and their influence on the construction of Margery in The Book of Margery Kempe. This article argues that as a work intending to offer a devotional example to readers, the Book uses the ideals of a domestic woman described in conduct books in order to render its protagonist authoritative. Margery becomes an ideal wife and mother who does service for her household; by imposing the lay ideals of houswifery in devotional contexts, the Book successfully validates Margery's status as a mystic with secular ties.

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