The Book of the City of Ladies

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Penguin UK, Jun 9, 1999 - Literary Collections - 336 pages

Christine de Pizan (c.1364-1430) was France's first professional woman of letters. Her pioneering Book of the City of Ladies begins when, feeling frustrated and miserable after reading a male writer's tirade against women, Christine 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 defence 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.
THE CITY OF LADIES provides positive images of women, ranging from warriors and inventors, scholars to prophetesses, and artists to saints. The book also offers a fascinating insight into the debates and controversies about the position of women in medieval culture.


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User Review  - page.fault - LibraryThing

I read this in the 9th grade (and I know what a walkman is, so you can judge for yourself how long ago that was), so I'm pretty sure that (a) I didn't precisely get the maximum value out of the text ... Read full review

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User Review  - Unreachableshelf - LibraryThing

A fifteenth proto-feminist tretise that women's virtue and capacity for learning is equal to men's, largely told through examples from Christian and Classical history. Anybody who is planning to write ... Read full review


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About the author (1999)

Christine de Pizan (1364-c.1430) was one of the most remarkable and respected literary figures in the courts of medieval Europe. She was the only professional woman writer of her time and secured an enviable reputation with her lyric poetry. She went on to write with success on moral and political issues, as well as producing a biography of Charles V.

Rosalind Brown-Grant is Lecturer in French at the University of Leeds, where she specializes in medieval literature.

Rosalind Brown-Grant took he BA and Ph.D. at the University of Manchester and is now Lecturer in French at the University of Leeds, where she specialises in medieval literature.

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