chapter  2
16 Pages

Christine de Pizan and the Political Life in Late Medieval France

WithRenate Blumenfeld-Kosinski

This chapter explores the evolution of her political thought and the many literary genres Christine De Pizan used to express her ideas. It shows how the worsening situation in France conditioned her own literary output, which ranged from lyrical works to allegories and finally straightforward political and polemic treatises. Christine worked the historical events and political life of her time into her texts in a variety of ways. The political message is more implicit here than in later texts, and it is especially in the frontispieces of the various presentation copies that her differentiated views of the noble recipients become apparent. Christine's political savvy is also in evidence here: she cultivated patrons from the different ducal families, refusing to take sides in the frequent conflicts between them. The gender transformation she describes here, that is, her being changed into a man through Fortune's manipulations, allows her to become a historian, a role until then reserved for males in medieval culture.