Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis


English Language and Literatures

First Advisor

Holly Crocker


In this thesis, I will explore Margery Kempe’s late fourteenth, early fifteenth century mystical text. Previously, Margery Kempe has been discussed in reference to her highly erotized language with Christ and her maternal themes that appear throughout her Book. However, I urge other medieval scholars to also look at her usage of textiles and clothing as a means of gaining authority with both Christ and the medieval church. First, I discuss Margery’s gendered situation within the male-centered church and community. Margery uses her position as a woman to build her agency and, as such, uses gendered specific clothing to introduce and forward her ecclesial agency. Margery’s clothing changes radically throughout her text and reveals the arc of her spiritual journey, starting from lavish, showy clothing to simple, white clothing. Margery, through textiles, wishes to transform an intangible, ephemeral relationship with Christ to a very real, material relationship with Christ to visually display to the medieval community her desired religious authority.


© 2016, Hannah Lynn Davis