A prolific poet and a protofeminist, Christine de Pizan worked within a sophisticated late medieval court culture and formed an identity as an authority on her society’s preoccupations with religion, politics, and morality. Her works address various aspects of misogyny, the appropriate actions of rulers, and the ethical framework for social conduct. In addition to gaining a readership in fifteenth-century France, Christine’s works influenced writers in Tudor England and were identified by twentieth-century readers as important contributions to both the emergence of a professional literary class and to the intellectual climate that gave rise to early modern Europe.
Part 1 of this volume, “Materials,” surveys the editions in Middle French, translations into modern French and English, and the many scholarly resources and critical reactions of the past fifty years. Part 2, “Approaches,” provides insights into various aspects of Christine’s works that can be explored with students, from considerations of genre and form to the themes of virtue, history, and memory. Teachers of French, English, world literature, and women’s studies will find useful ideas throughout the volume.