and a few citations to Christine de Pisan
scattered throughout, this is primarily a volume about maidens in medieval England and the views of medieval English writers on them.
It is not their bodies but their upbringing and poor education that explain why women behave in certain ways, Christine de Pisan
posited around 1400 in response to misogynous comments by contemporaries.
Mueller's argument that Lanyer "uses her portrayals of Christ and actual good women to trace the impact of feminine or feminized virtue on the masculine side of a range of standing dichotomies that mark conceptions of social and political relations" (117) demonstrates a poet as vigorous and aware in her challenge to misogyny as Christine de Pisan
two hundred years earlier.
She begins with the noted author Christine de Pisan
, known more in England for her wisdom books than her feminist treatises.
Examining the portrayal of Natura in medieval texts, she argues that the romance of Silence and the writing of the great proto-feminist, Christine de Pisan
challenge the idea that women are inferior according to nature.
Focusing specifically on "historical processes through which women's writing was culturally defined, circulated, and assigned value"(5), Summit examines both texts (chiefly works of Chaucer, Puttenham, Chistine de Pisan
[as adapted by the English], Marjorie Kempe, John Bale, and Queen Elizabeth), and para-texts, such as prefaces, printers' notes, and the interventions of editors and translators.
Chicago, 1996) and Christine de Pisan
, The Book of the City of Ladies (1405), trans.
Benoite Groult's essay "La philosophie du mepris: Ses consequences cruelles, linguistiques, politiques" pays homage to women who had the courage to break with tradition and become creative artists in their own right, thus opening the way for others: Heloise, Christine de Pisan
, Marie de Gournay, et cetera.
Each of us brings different stones to the building, but together we are, like Christine de Pisan
, shaping a City of Ladies.
Organized chronologically by author -- the earliest as fifteenth-century Christine de Pisan
(1364-1431), the latest, Emily Greene Balch (1867-1961) -- McDonald offers a brief biography and introduction to each excerpt, then pieces of primary text.
There follows a discussion of her sympathetic treatment of Semiramis as opposed to those of Boccaccio and Christine de Pisan
(Rabelais's could be mentioned as well, cf.
Verard liked to describe himself as an "humble libraire," but he was much more than that: a book-maker who employed at least 20 printers during his career, an illuminator who often represented himself as the donor of the book to its (usually royal) dedicatee, and a writer of both verse and prose who attached his own prefatory material to a large variety of different works, from Books of Hours and the Golden Legend to Ovid, Boccaccio, Christine de Pisan
and Gaston Phebus.