Book of Margery Kempe, the first autobiography in English
The British Library has digitised the sole surviving original copy of the first autobiography written in English – The Book of Margery Kempe, reports The Guardian. It owns the only known copy of the book, describing Kempe’s life and travels in England and abroad, including her pilgrimages to the Holy Land and Santiago de Compostela in Spain. You can now browse through 264 images online.
Kempe, who had 14 children before becoming a medieval globetotter, dictated her story to a priest, but details of her book were only known through excerpts printed in 1501. A complete copy of the original manuscript was discovered in a cupboard in 1934 in Derbyshire. It was almost burned during a tidy-up.