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Christine, de Pisan.

Christine, de Pisanor de Pizan(b. c. 1365, Venice [Italy]--d. c. 1431)

Prolific and versatile French poet and author whose diverse writings include numerous poems of courtly love and several works championing women.

Christine's Italian father was astrologer to Charles V, and she spent her childhood at the French court. At 15 she married Estienne de Castel, who became court secretary. Widowed after 10 years of marriage, she took up writing in order to support herself and her three young children. Her first poems were ballades of lost love written to the memory of her husband. These verses met with success, and she continued writing ballads, rondeaux, lays, and complaints in which she expressed her feelings with grace and sincerity. In all she wrote 10 volumes in verse, including L'Epistre au Dieu d'amours (written 1399; "Letter to the God of Loves"), in which she defended women against the satire of Jean de Meun in the Roman de la Rose.

Christine's prose works include Le Livre de la cite des dames (1405; Book of the City of Ladies, The ), in which she wrote of women known for their heroism and virtue, and Le Livre des trois vertus (1405; "Book of Three Virtues"), a sequel comprising a classification of women's roles in medieval society and a collection of moral instructions for women in the various social spheres. The story of her life, L`Avision de Christine (1405), told in an allegorical manner, was a reply to her detractors. At the request of the regent, Philip the Bold of Burgundy, Christine wrote the life of the deceased king--Le Livre des fais et bonnes meurs du sage roy Charles V (1404; "Book of the Deeds and Good Morals of the Wise King Charles V"), a firsthand picture of the king and his court. Her eight additional prose works reveal her remarkable breadth of knowledge.

Her last work, Le Ditie de Jehanne d'Arc (written in 1429), is a lyrical, joyous outburst inspired by the early victories of Joan of Arc; it is the only such French-language work written during Joan's lifetime.

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Publication:Merriam Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature
Date:Jan 1, 1995
Words:404
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