chapter  1
18 Pages

‘Wild wishes…’: women and the history of utopia

In 1405, a text that still stands as a landmark in the history of women’s literature appeared on the cultural scene of western Europe: Christine de Pizan’s The Book of the City of Ladies. Once again, as in her previous book, Letters on the Debate over the Romance of the Rose, Christine took up the issues raised by the dispute about women (the “querelle des femmes”) that had been raging within French literary circles for well over a century. Conscious of the fact that hers was the only public woman’s voice in this debate, she did not content herself with a simple response this time, but presented her book as an antidote.