A fascinating insight into the debates and controversies about the position of women in medieval culture, written by France’s first professional woman of letters.
The pioneering Book of the City of Ladies begins when, feeling frustrated and miserable after reading a male writer’s tirade against women, Christine de Pizan has a dreamlike vision where three virtues—Reason, Rectitude, and Justice—appear to correct this view. They instruct her to build an allegorical city in which womankind can be defended against slander, its walls and towers constructed from examples of female achievement both from her own day and the past: ranging from warriors, inventors, and scholars to prophetesses, artists, and saints. Christine de Pizan’s spirited defense of her sex was unique for its direct confrontation of the misogyny of her day and offers a telling insight into the position of women in medieval culture.
Christine de Pizan (c. 1365–1429) was born in Venice but grew up at the court of Charles V of France. After the deaths of the king, her father, and her husband, she was left to provide for her three children,… More about Christine de Pizan