Christine de Pizan: Equalizing Love in the City of Women
“That women have such vices I deny;
I take my arms up in defense of them…”
(Christine de Pizan, Epistle to the God of Love, British Library, Harleian MS 4431)
Hailed as a proto-feminist, Christine de Pizan (circa 1364–circa 1431) railed against the misogynist view of love that had been promoted in Ovid and the Roman de la Rose. Such works filled her with a hatred of self “and of the entire feminine sex, as though we were monstrosities of nature.” Her response was Le Livre de la Cité des Dames (1405), which laid the foundation for a renewed interest in women, on women's terms. Using works that had often been used in misogynist ways, Christine highlighted the virtuous actions of the women therein, focusing on their steadfastness and nobility in the sphere of love.
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