Forged by Fire: Margery Kempe’s Account of Postnatal Psychosis

@article{Jefferies2014ForgedBF,
  title={Forged by Fire: Margery Kempe’s Account of Postnatal Psychosis},
  author={Diana Jefferies and Debbie Horsfall},
  journal={Literature and Medicine},
  year={2014},
  volume={32},
  pages={348 - 364}
}
The opening sequence of the autobiography, The Book of Margery Kempe, written in approximately 1439, describes an episode of illness after the birth of a first child, which medical historians have identified as postnatal psychosis. Margery however, interpreted her experience of postnatal psychosis in terms of her own worldview, using a Christian paradigm. She was convinced that her recovery was an example of Grace emanating from her special relationship with God which gave her divine knowledge… Expand

Topics from this paper

Blurring reality with fiction: Exploring the stories of women, madness, and infanticide.
TLDR
Literary texts can shed light on socio-psychological struggles women experience and can be used to stimulate discussion by healthcare professionals about the development of preventative or early intervention strategies to identify women at risk. Expand
Understanding the experience of women admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Sydney with psychosis or mania following childbirth after World War II (1945–1955)
TLDR
The value of investigating historical health-care records to understand how prevailing attitudes and practices might affect diagnosis and treatment of women admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Sydney, Australia with a diagnosis of psychosis or mania after childbirth in the post-World War II period is demonstrated. Expand
Historical perspectives: a snapshot of women admitted to psychiatric facilities with psychosis or mania after childbirth in the late Victorian and inter-war periods.
TLDR
Historical investigations of healthcare records provide legitimacy for current healthcare practices and demonstrate the importance of current practices such as taking a comprehensive healthcare assessment and the use of antibiotics and sanitary measures during labour and in the postnatal period. Expand

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 32 REFERENCES
Margery Kempe, a new theory: the inadequacy of hysteria and postpartum psychosis as diagnostic categories
Margery Kempe (c. 1373-1439), author of the first spiritual autobiography in English, wrote the only personal account of madness by a woman in the Middle Ages. Conventional sources define her mentalExpand
Manipulating Mary: Maternal, Sexual, and Textual Authority in The Book of Margery Kempe
Sex is never far from Margery Kempe’s mind. In 1436 she creates The Book of Margery Kempe, one of the first English texts by a woman and perhaps the first autobiography in English, in order toExpand
Developing person-centred care through the use of autobiography
Background: Postnatal psychosis is a serious psychiatric emergency that can have tragic consequences for the mother and child if the symptoms are not recognised early. An autobiographical account ofExpand
Mystic and Pilgrim: The Book and the World of Margery Kempe by Clarissa W. Atkinson (review)
This book is a very useful study of the enigmatic character of the medieval Margery Kempe, whose vicissitudinous life is known to us by her "auto­ biography," which was rediscovered in 1933. AtkinsonExpand
Margery Kempe: Hysteria and Mysticism Reconciled
Margery Kempe (ca. 1373-ca. 1440) was a fifteenth-century Englishwoman whose Book is a narrative of her pilgrimages and spiritual experiences. With a poet's insight Howard Nemerov tells us clearlyExpand
Medieval Death: Ritual and Representation
This is a study of the social, theological and cultural issues involved in death and dying in Europe from the end of the Roman Empire to the Reformation in the early 16th century. Drawing on bothExpand
A review of postpartum psychosis.
TLDR
The data suggest that postpartum psychosis is an overt presentation of bipolar disorder that is timed to coincide with tremendous hormonal shifts after delivery, which can lead to devastating consequences in which the safety and well-being of the affected mother and her offspring are jeopardized. Expand
The Trope of the Scribe and the Question of Literary Authority in the Works of Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe
The subject of medieval scribes is bound up with the question of textual authority. Scribes not only left their marks upon the manuscripts they copied, they also functioned as interpreters, editingExpand
Autobiography as genre for qualitative data: a reservoir of experience for nursing research.
This paper is concerned with the use of published literary autobiographies that contain first-hand accounts of illness narratives, to explore their usefulness as a form of qualitative data toExpand
Perinatal psychiatric disorders: a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality.
  • M. Oates
  • Medicine
  • British medical bulletin
  • 2003
TLDR
It is likely that the suicide rate following delivery is not significantly different to other times in women's lives and for the first 42 days following delivery may be elevated, calling into question the so-called 'protective effect of maternity'. Expand
...
1
2
3
4
...