The Book of the City of Ladies (Penguin Classics)
The pioneering Book of the City of Ladies begins when, feeling frustrated and miserable after reading a male writer’s tirade against women, Christine de Pizan has a dreamlike vision where three virtues—Reason, Rectitude and Justice—appear to correct this view. They instruct her to build an allegorical city in which womankind can be defended against slander, its walls and towers constructed from examples of female achievement both from her own day and the past: ranging from warriors, inventors and scholars to prophetesses, artists and saints. Christine de Pizan’s spirited defence of her sex was unique for its direct confrontation of the misogyny of her day, and offers a telling insight into the position of women in medieval culture. The Book of the City of Ladies provides positive images of women, ranging from warriors and inventors, scholars to prophetesses, and artists to saints.
Christine de Pizan was a feminist writer from the 14th century. She is considered one of the most notable writers of the medieval times due to her revolutionary works on women, where she explored the depiction of women in literature and their role in society and introduced the idea of gender equality . Her major and most remembered works are Epistre au dieu d’amour (1399), La cité des dames (1405), labelled as one of the first feminist texts, and Le livre du trésor de la cité des dames (1405).