Christine de Pizan’s Book of the City of Ladies, written over six centuries ago, is neither simple nor simplistic. As the first known history of women in Western. Who was Christine de Pizan? Christine was the first female writer to earn a living from her work. She was born in Venice in around and moved to France as. Advice and guidance for women of all ages, from Europe’s first professional woman writer Written by Europe’s first professional woman writer.

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Noted for its quality miniature illuminations, Pizan herself and her past royal patrons were depicted. De Pizan was not just writing for women.

She beseeches them to defend and protect the city and to follow their queen the virgin Mary. This was a pleasurable read as far as medieval texts go, and I could not help but be reminded of a debate about the christiine curriculum at Columbia when I was an undergraduate there in the late s.

Christine de Pizan – Wikipedia

She achieved such credibility that royalty commissioned her prose and contemporary intellectuals kept copies of her works in their libraries. Those myriad decades of wealth of growth were stolen from The Book of the City of Ladies by a little willful ignorance here, a little socially encouraged bad faith there, etc, etc, etc, and suddenly five centuries have passed and the patriarchy reigns with the certainty that none of its deconstruction will surface from the 14th and 15th centuries.

The text depresses her, but she then has a vision of being visited by Reason, Rectitude, and Justice, who tell her to build a metaphorical “City” for women, with all the heroic women of the past as its foundations.

Her works include political treatises, mirrors for princesepistles, and poetry. Men needed to read and understand her message as well.

By building a city for women in which helped them build their confidence and voice in which they also had just wanted to be treated equally and be respected for the human beings that they all were.

The Book of the City of Ladies – Wikipedia

Did he not know of her? I’d only read excerpts of this book before now and Christine’s sincerity moved me deeply. Pizan argued that women’s success depends on their ability to manage and mediate by speaking and writing effectively. While one might say this is to be A useful look at the christlne of women’s rights, but through the eyes of a ruling-class woman noble who wants nothing different systemically, just more respect culturally.


She does, however, maintain a dichotomy between the sexes, attributing gentleness, compassion, etc, to women and if I remember correctly decisiveness and action to men.

Reason digs the foundations of the city, Rectitude builds its walls and Justice brings the Virgin to live within it. Chriztine yet she is described as virtuous for her charity. She constructed three allegorical figures — Reason, Justice, and Rectitude — in the common pattern of literature in that era, when many books and poetry utilized stock allegorical figures to express ideas or emotions.

The previous year she had presented the Epistre de la prison de vie Humaine to Marie of Berry[48] the administrator of the Duchy of Bourbon whose husband was held in English captivity. I also remember thinking that was not unusual considering the fact it was written in the 14th century, and those people were really unenlightened when it came to women’s rights and stuff.

Not only is she reasonable, but she also has moral wisdom. And she would be pissed. However, where Boccaccio’s work could really be a hit or miss depending on what the topic happened to be, I find Pizan’s storytelling to be intriguing, making each woman she talks about seem interesting. Her arguments are balanced, neither going through solely Reason or Rectitude or Justice but through all three.

Portuguese and Dutch editions of it exist from the 15th century, and French editions were still being printed in As a mark of ownership and authorship the opening frontispiece depicted Queen Isabeau being presented with the book by Pizan.

She enters into a dialogue, a movement between question and answer, with these allegorical figures that is from a completely female perspective. Retrieved ladoes ” https: My female ancestors, beleaguered Irish Catholic women who faced pizann not just by virtue of their gender but for their race and religion, managed to maintain their noble spirit despite oppression violence and starvation.

The Treasure of the City of Ladies

In Livre du Corps de policie The Book of the Body Politicpublished in and dedicated to the dauphin, [12] Pizan set out a political treatise which analysed and described the customs and governments of late medieval European societies. That and religion in general are the two things that really fetter her, I think: In Pizan published cgristine consolation for women who had lost family members in the Battle of Agincourt under the title Epistre de cgristine prison de vie Humaine Letter Concerning the Prison of Human Life.


Although she often relies on questionable sources — Boccaccio Christine de Pizan had quite an obstacle to overcome in her defense of women. See all books by Christine de Pizan. In a way, Christine was the first Women’s Historian, since her text was an effort to “read women back” into the historical record, finding them throughout the classical and medieval periods, and finding them to be as worthy and noble as the men of their time.

Texts were still produced and circulated as continuous roll manuscriptsbut were increasingly replaced by the bound codex.

Anne of Francewho acted as regent of France, used it as a basis for her book of Enseignemenswritten for her daughter Suzanne Duchess of Bourbonwho as agnatic heir to the Bourbon lands became co-regent. Her defense of womanly virtue, intelligence, compassion and strength serves as a counterpoint to most everything written to that point in the history of written language.

Chivalry and Exploration, — This book was satisfying and comforting to read because of the author’s many learned examples, but also from the assurances she offers.

Historians assume that Pizan spent the last ten years of her life in the Dominican Convent of Poissy because of the civil war and the occupation of Paris by the English. Pizan’s political writings received some attention too. This is no angry diatribe, but simply a defence of women and their vhristine.

The Book of the City of Ladies

Christine de Pizan wrote this book in the 15th century, and calls Boccaccio out a few times, which made me cheer a bit. Much like de Beauvoir’s Second Sex, Pizan’s masterpiece is still one of the best feminist critiques ever written. Lady Reason, a virtue developed by Christine for the purpose of her book, is the first to join Christine and helps her build the external walls of the city. Stay in Touch Sign up. We are experiencing technical difficulties.