Christine de Pizan: Her Life and Works by Charity Cannon Willard
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Overview: Christine de Pizan, France’s first woman of letters, was a strong and important voice of her era. Widowed at twenty-five with three small children and no inheritance, she turned to writing out of necessity, but she soon found her way to the center of Europe’s intellectual life. Like no other woman writer before her, she openly expressed her views on current events and the social life of France, and used details from her own life within her work, transforming autobiographical fact into literature. She was the author of more than twenty distinguished works, including the official biography of King Charles V, a poem celebrating the victories of Joan of Arc, and many books about the condition of the lives of women. When her "Book of the City of Ladies" was published in its first modern English translation by Persea in 1982, the response from readers and critics alike confirmed that she speaks with equal eloquence today. Now, in this definitive biography written by the scholar acknowledged to be the foremost authority on Christine, she comes to us across half a millennium as the extraordinary woman she was: daughter, wife, mother, one of Europe’s most respected intellectuals, and a writer of enduring significance.
Drawing on more than forty years of research and study, Charity Cannon Willard discusses Christine’s work at length and in relation to her life and times. In following Christines career from her beginnings as a society poet to her later years as an eminent writer, intimately involved with politics, literary culture patronage, and the world of medieval bookmaking and illustration. Dr. Willard offers us not only a literary biography of unusual distinction but a richly detailed portrait of life in early fifteenth century France.
Genre: Non-Fiction > Biographies & Memoirs