Christine de Pizan (1364?-1430?)



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Christine de Pizan (1364?-1430?)

  • EDCI 658
  • Fall, 2006

Christine’s Life and Times

  • Was born in Venice, Italy around 1364
  • Her father was a lecturer in astrology at the University of Bologna
  • King Charles of France invited her father to give him medical and astrological advice
  • Christine’s family moved to Paris
  • Her mother had the conventional view of her daughter’s role in life
  • Her father was her teacher in French, Italian, and some Latin
  • Christine devoted her book, The Long Road to Learning (1403) to her father

Christine’s Life and Times

  • She married twenty-five year old man Etienne de Castel chosen by her father at the age of fifteen
  • They had three children
  • She was widowed at age of 24; her father also died
  • Christine began writing poetry using fixed forms of verse and assembled a collection of 100 ballades by 1402

Christine’s Life and Times

  • She was considered the first true feminist by criticizing Jean de Meun’s Romance of the Rose
  • She wrote to the Queen protesting the unjust image of women portrayed by the book
  • She also believed that women could play the roles beyond traditional domestic sphere
  • Her letters were considered as the forerunner of the modern essay
  • Moral Educator: She also wrote Moral Teaching and Moral Proverbs and Mutation of Fortune
  • Biographer: She wrote biography of King Charles V., which was the first “secular biography”

Christine’s Life and Times

  • She also wrote The Book of the City of Ladies (Inspired by Augustine’s City of God)
  • The Book of the Three Virtues
  • The Book of the Feats of Arms and Chivalry
  • Lament on the Evils of the Civil War
  • Christine’s sun became a royal secretary later and got married and had three children of his own; however, he had to flee into exile when the English occupied Paris
  • Christine retired to live with her daughter in the abbey of Poissy where she wrote Hours of Meditation on the Lord

Christine’s Importance for Education

  • She wrote in a wide range of topics: morality, government, war, peace, history, education
  • She wrote in many genres: poetry, letters, essays, biographies, autobiographies
  • She educational ideas were beyond her time: liberal education for women; learning by doing; using rhyming verse to help them memorize
  • Wrote extensively on moral education
  • In her book The Book of the Three Virtues, she advocated a school for all women to attend including the lower class women

Christine’s Importance for Education

  • She encouraged women to dominate their own lives rather than letting life dominating them
  • She also encourage women to develop their talents in order to make contributions to society
  • Another innovative educational idea is to use children’s natural curiosity and treat children with kindness
  • She emphasized that moral education is to serve the purposes of civic responsibility
  • In her Book of the Body Politic, She wrote education in three parts: (1) princes, (2) nobles and knights, (3) scholars, merchants, artisans, and laborers

Christine’s Importance for Education

  • Advocated physical education
  • Agreed with Cicero on oratorical skills
  • Emphasized the values of hands-on activities and learning from the examples of the elders
  • Emphasized hat virtue as the basis for ruling
  • Emphasized moral and civic education
  • Believed that knowledge should be shared in order to obtain its full value

Example of Christine’s Writings

  • “Son, I have no great treasure
  • to make you rich, but a measure
  • Of good advice, which you may need;
  • I give it hoping you’ll take heed”
  • “If you knowledge would pursue
    • A life of books is then for you
    • So make sure that by your hard work
    • You’re not inferior to any clerk”
  • “Another’s wealth do not envy,
  • The envious in this life may see
  • The flames of Hell and feel its pains
  • A burden heavier than chains”
  • -Citied in Murphy, 2006, p. 135

Resources about Christine

  • http://www.pinn.net/~sunshine/march99/pizan3.html
  • http://www.pinn.net/~sunshine/book-sum/pizan1.html
  • http://home.infionline.net/~ddisse/christin.html
  • http://www.csupomona.edu/~plin/ls201/christine1.html
  • http://faculty.msmc.edu/lindeman/piz1.html
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christine_de_Pizan
  • http://xenophongroup.com/montjoie/pizan.htm
  • http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/pisan/Christine.html
  • http://womenshistory.about.com/od/christinedepizan/

Resources about Christine Cont.

  • http://www.arts.ed.ac.uk/french/christine/cpstart.htm
  • http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/pizan.htm
  • http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03723a.htm
  • http://columbia.thefreedictionary.com/Christine+de+Pisan
  • http://www.distinguishedwomen.com/biographies/pisan.html
  • http://www.uweb.ucsb.edu/~schess/courses/christine/
  • http://www.myhero.com/myhero/hero.asp?hero=cdpisan


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