Essay on The Book of the City of Ladies

1088 Words5 Pages
An unlikely candidate to dispute the unfair, misogynistic treatment of women by men and society, Christine de Pizan successfully challenged the accepted negative views that were being expressed about women by the all-male literary world of her era. Part of Christine’s uniqueness stems from the time in which she lived, the middle to late 1300’s. The lack of a positive female role model to pattern herself after made Christine a true visionary in the fight for the equal rights of women. Her original ideas and insight provided a new and more intelligent way to view females. Pizan’s work, The Book of the City of Ladies, provided women much needed guidance in how to survive without the support of a man.

It is Christine’s literary work The
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Her comments not only let the reader know that she is displeased with this piece of literature, but that she feels that reading it is neither elevating nor useful. Thus, she insinuates the futility of the work itself. Christine cleverly goes on to comment on the subject of the character of women by flattering her male contemporaries. She writes, "…it would be impossible that so many famous men--such solemn scholars, possessed of such deep and great understanding, so clear-sighted in all things, as it seemed--could have spoken falsely on so many occasions…" (4). Christine intelligently uses this "sugar coated" method to emphasize the point –- the point that these men were wrong. Although Christine was obviously outspoken, she knew her limitations. Her work would not be recognized, or even read, if she had openly attacked the male writers. Therefore, she instead chose to build them up the "solemn scholars" before opposing their positions. Christine’s ironic humility does not stop with the prominent male writers of her time. She addresses God with the same rhetorical question as she asks, "Oh, God, how can this be? For unless I stray from my faith, I must never doubt that Your infinite wisdom and most perfect goodness ever created anything which was not good" (Pizan 5). Again, Christine carefully opposed the male point of view this time using Biblical references.
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