Friday, April 07, 2006

Margery Kempe & Jay-Z



One of my students wrote something fascinating the other day and gave it to me - apparently he was finishing The Book of Margery Kempe late one night (yeah, she keeps me up too, that saucy wench!) and he started writing a whole comparison of Margery Kempe and the rapper Jay-Z. Now, my musical tastes tend more towards Pat Benetar and The Cure - I really don't know much about the rap music scene nowadays (or would we call Jay-Z "hip-hop"? How are they different?). But what this student wrote was great...

His musings were on the intertextuality in both Jay-Z's music and Margery's book. Jay-Z is constantly mentioning and aligning himself with "The Notorious B.I.G." (a.k.a. "Biggie" - even I knew he'd been killed) on his 2001 album "The Blueprint". The student suggests that Jay-Z does this in order to "simultaneously pay homage to his inspiration and strengthen his standing in the rap game." He sees a similar move going on with Margery Kempe, particularly in the way that Margery always refers to the Virgin Mary and St. Bridget (and her Revelations) as "authorizing forces." However, student asserts, Margery also "undermines" her intertextually reinforced authority when she attempts to surpass her "mentors" - in particular when she claims that God assures her: "my daughter Bridget never saw me in this way". Jay-Z has been criticized (by supporters and rivals alike) for first aligning himself with and then trying to best his mentor, Biggie. Basically, student concludes, both Jay-Z and Margery get too big for their britches...

This made me feel great! I was overjoyed and slightly amazed that a student would get so into Margery Kempe that he couldn't help but sit down and write out a three page comparison of Margery and modern rap music...

I take no credit for this - I lay it all on Margery's doorstep...

Labels:

2 Comments:

At 4:04 PM, Blogger Dr. Virago said...

By seinte loy! That's hilarious! I'm going to have to share that with my students.

 
At 10:42 PM, Blogger History Geek said...

That is pretty amazing!

In fact it makes me want to read my copy of her book again. I recvied my battered copy from my Western Civ teachers years and years ago.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home