This article reads The Book of Margery Kempe as a rhetorically innovative visionary text that offered late medieval readers a powerful new method of accessing the vernacular Word of God. Through the textual representation of Christ's visionary speech and Margery's spoken responses, the Book establishes a devotional mode within which Margery's imitative prayer and public instruction exemplify effective verbal engagement with Christ. This departure from traditional critical views of the Book as the quintessential expression of medieval women's affective corporeality shows the Book in a new light: as the textual exemplar of a literary mode of engagement with the divine through vernacular reading and participatory speech.

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