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Christine de Pizan by Régine Pernoud

Christine de Pizan

by Régine Pernoud

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A sweet introduction to a great late medieval, early renaissance character. As the daughter of a Venetian astrologer/scientist who advised the French king Charles V, she had a unique and early access to power (similar to Barbara Tuchman) - which she lost when both king, her father and her young husband died, leaving her and her children at the mercy of the courts and benefactors. She struggled and recovered herself as a writer of love ballads but ventured into political commentary especially regarding the role of women in society, opposing the church and the conservative university of Paris. When France plunged again into the abyss of the Hundred Years War, her fortune reversed and she entered the convent of her daughter.

Régine Pernoud is a French historian with a focus on medieval women. Her passion for her subject enlivens the narrative, a passion however which is supplanted at the end by her passion for Joan of Arc. Pernoud nearly drops her subject, at the end barely informing about her death while presenting Joan of Arc. We never learn about when exactly Christine died and whether a grave exists. I am sure that Christine de Pisan would not have accepted such an unmerited backseat treatment. On the other hand, Pernoud's introduction to Christine de Pisan's writing is done well. ( )
1 vote jcbrunner | Jan 25, 2009 |
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