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2,667 (3,582)288,409 (3.76)5
The Book of the City of Ladies 1,297 copies, 11 reviews
The City of Ladies 256 copies, 3 reviews
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Christine de Pizan was born in the Republic of Venice, in present-day Italy. Her father Tommaso di Benvenuto da Pizzano was a scholar, physician, and astrologer who encouraged her education. Her mother's name is unknown, but it is believed that she came from an aristocratic family. When Christine was four years old, the family moved to Paris, France, where her father was appointed court astrologer to King Charles V.

She was drawn to literature at an early age, but this was discouraged by her mother, who wanted her to concentrate on so-called women's work, such as spinning cloth and other domestic chores. In 1378, at about age 15, she was married to the French court secretary, Etienne du Castel, with whom she had three children. Ten years later, her father and then her husband died suddenly, leaving debts, and Christine had sole responsibility for the care of three children, her niece, and her mother.

She began writing poetry to make herself feel better, but eventually became the first female professional writer of the Middle Ages. She was able to win the support of wealthy and noble patrons who enjoyed her poems, ballads, and prose, and also gave her commissions.

In her work, she was unusually outspoken in her belief that women were the equals of men in every regard and should be given the same rights, opportunities, and respect. Her most important work, La cité des dames (The Book of the City of Ladies, 1405) was written to combat the sexist attitudes and negative stereotypes about women in her era. Although medieval women were not supposed to express their ideas or be independent, Christine de Pizan managed to do both successfully.
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