letteratura mondo
ISSN 2281-1966

"Performance" after Judith Butler: The Case of Recent Criticism on Margery Kempe

By Valentina Castagna

Reflecting upon current perspectives and theoretical debates in the fields of Women’s Studies and Gender Studies , I was automatically drawn to think about the number of times the concept of performance appeared in the titles of articles and essays during my recent research on The Book of Margery Kempe (written between 1436 and 1438) .
I was interested in analysing the figure of Margery Kempe from a gender perspective, applying a contemporary critical reading to a medieval text and in particular to a medieval female figure. While researching secondary sources, I saw that in the last fifteen years several scholars interested in this subject have been using the concept of performance to explain Margery Kempe’s strategies of self-legitimization as a speaking/‘writing’ woman, which, incidentally, was also the point I wanted to make . Some of these articles were entitled, for instance, “A Performance Artist and Her Performance Text: Margery Kempe on Tour” and “Mother, Maiden, Child: Gender as Performance in The Book of Margery Kempe”


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