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It was the misogynist consensus that Christine de Pizan, France's first professional woman of letters, confronted head-on in the City Of Ladies. Here, with the help of Reason, Recitude and Justice, Christine constructs an allegorical city in which to defend womankind, using examples of female virtue and achievment both from the past and her own day as the stones with which to build the city's walls and towers. A key text in the history of feminism, the City of Ladies not only provides powerful positive images of women, ranging from warriors, inventors, and scholars to prophetesses, artists and saints, but also offers a fascinating insight into the debates and controversies about the position of women in medieval culture.
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 virtuesReason, Rectitude and Justiceappear 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 Book of the City of Ladies provides positive images of women, ranging from warriors and inventors, scholars to prophetesses, and artists to saints.
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Christine de Pizan (c.1364-1430) was France's first professional woman of letters and the author of The Book of the City of Ladies.