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DOWNLOAD æ The Book of the City of Ladies õ In dialogues with three celestial ladies, Reason, Rectitude, and Justice, Christine de Pizancabuilds an allegorical fortified city for women using examples of the important contributions women have made to Western Civilization and arguments that prove their intellectual and moral equality to men Earl Jeffrey Richards acclaimed translation is used nationwide in the most eminent colleges and universities in America, from Columbia to Stanford Not that long ago, one of my female goodreads friends commented paraphrasing that she would not have wanted to live in the 1300 s Christine de Pizan, who did live in the 1300 s would have disagreed with her In a way, Christine was the first Women s Historian, since her text was an effort to read women back into the historical record, finding them throughout the classical and medieval periods, and finding them to be as worthy and noble as the men of their time She sets about her task hav Not that long ago, one of my female goodreads friends commented paraphrasing that she would not have wanted to live in the 1300 s Christine de Pizan, who did live in the 1300 s would have disagreed with her In a way, Christine was the first Women s Historian, since her text was an effort to read women back into the historical record, finding them throughout the classical and medieval periods, and finding them to be as worthy and noble as the men of their time She sets about her task having gotten fired up by a misogynist screed which posits women as the source of all evil and fault in the world The text depresses her, but she then has a vision of being visited by Reason, Rectitude, and Justice, who tell her to build a metaphorical City for women, with all the heroic women of the past as its foundations She finds them in classical myth, as well as the religious stories of saints and martyrs, and to some degree among the nobility of France and other nations The value of this book, apart from its celebration of the women of antiquity, is that it gives students insight into an educated woman from a period in which many believe such creatures simply did not exist Christine made her living as a writer after the death of her husband, and did well enough to support a small library of her own at a time when books were expensive and rare Her historical sources and methods might not seem reliable to our modern scientific approach to history, but they would have been entirely standard among historians of her time She lived independently, and clearly had a mind of her own This version of the text is prefaced by an excellent introduction by Rosalind Brown Grant that contextualizes the text and the life of Christine for the lay reader It places her within a spectrum of the history of women and helps us to understand why such influential Women s Historians as Joan Kelly turned to Christine for inspiration The book will strike some students as repetitive and the style will not appeal to many, but just reading the introduction and a part of the book will expand their sense of the possibilities for women in the Middle Ages About six years ago I read Giovanni Boccaccio s The Decameron While I found it a worthwhile experience, I remember thinking that the women were not portrayed in a very kind light all the time in his stories I also remember thinking that was not unusual considering the fact it was written in the 14th century, and those people were really unenlightened when it came to women s rights and stuff.But then I read this book Christine de Pizan wrote this book in the 15th century, and calls Boccaccio o About six years ago I read Giovanni Boccaccio s The Decameron While I found it a worthwhile experience, I remember thinking that the women were not portrayed in a very kind light all the time in his stories I also remember thinking that was not unusual considering the fact it was written in the 14th century, and those people were really unenlightened when it came to women s rights and stuff.But then I read this book Christine de Pizan wrote this book in the 15th century, and calls Boccaccio out a few times, which made me cheer a bit She questioned what he wrote, as well as other writers Ovid, for example , which made me realize that not everyone was completely unenlightened back in the Middle Ages after all.This allegory was written in the early 1400s but wasn t translated into English until 1521 Pizan herself is a character in her story which involves her talking to the three daughters of God Reason, Rectitude, and Justice They have come to help Pizan build a safe haven for women since they have gotten the short end of the stick throughout history Remember this was written in the 15th century I feel de Pizan s City has grown exponentially since it was first published She would hardly recognize it now if she showed up And she would be pissed I m sure her first words would be along the lines of Did no one read my book, and did you assholes learn nothing Nope No one reads your book, Christine And no one has learned anything It s a fucking disgrace out here in the future.The three daughters of God listen to Pizan s questions, all of which are about how women have been treated throughout history, the way they are portrayed in literature, the way they are subjected to rape and torture, and accused of being malicious and manipulative Pizan points out examples from Boccaccio and Ovid and the daughters of God bring out other examples that disprove what those guys had written, and then those historical figures they have illustrated to Pizan are then housed in the safety of this City they have created.It s actually a really brilliant idea They re not just sitting around waiting for the Plague to blow over, telling each other stories No, here s a story that uses some fucking imagination An imaginary city created to provide safety to women who have no other safe place to turn It sounds like an utopia, doesn t it This was a powerful read especially when considering when it was written and how unpopular these ideas must have been It s a feminist work at a time when women were not given a voice, especially not a feminist one They were objects and property, but here is one woman who said that was not good enough, and misogyny has no place in this world Of course we re still fighting that one, but here s another text to show that it s been a long battle and we re not alone This is an amazing humanist text written in 1405 Through her discourse to explain the misconception of woman, Pizan elevates her argument beyond the literature of 20th century feminists Where Friedan, Steinem, Hooks, etc would outline the maladjustment and oppression of women, Pizan would argue that equality is a potential from birth She doesn t just academically complain through proof or experience that woman is a second class citizen.The purpose of The Book of the City of Ladies is to buil This is an amazing humanist text written in 1405 Through her discourse to explain the misconception of woman, Pizan elevates her argument beyond the literature of 20th century feminists Where Friedan, Steinem, Hooks, etc would outline the maladjustment and oppression of women, Pizan would argue that equality is a potential from birth She doesn t just academically complain through proof or experience that woman is a second class citizen.The purpose of The Book of the City of Ladies is to build an intellectual, emotional, and spiritual refuge foundation for all women to draw from as they pursue their natural aptitude It is interesting to read a text and see how the cult of the Virgin Mary helped elevate women s place in society Equally fascinating is to see the intellectual breadth of the day and endearing to read the errors of their knowledge in history and linguistics Much like de Beauvoir s Second Sex, Pizan s masterpiece is still one of the best feminist critiques ever written It is still at the same time elevating to men This being said, we haveto do and to write In this book, written in 1405, the author is given examples by Lady Reason, Lady Rectitude and Lady Justice to help erect a city of ladies In part it is a metaphor of the city being built up of the reputations of great women, but it is also meant to be peopled with great and virtuous women too In building up their support of this city , we are shown that things like morality, learning, chastity, prophesy, loyalty, mediation, stoicism, intelligence, and strategy are very much part of th In this book, written in 1405, the author is given examples by Lady Reason, Lady Rectitude and Lady Justice to help erect a city of ladies In part it is a metaphor of the city being built up of the reputations of great women, but it is also meant to be peopled with great and virtuous women too In building up their support of this city , we are shown that things like morality, learning, chastity, prophesy, loyalty, mediation, stoicism, intelligence, and strategy are very much part of the territory of women as well as men We are shown that women are not naturally lesser beings when it comes to possession of these virtues.Many of the women cited are hugely strong characters.for instance we are shown how the Sabine women mediated between their families and their abductors, and how Judith killed Holofernes, a terrible enemy ruler of her people, or how Portia violently ended her life when her husband was murdered.Other women are cited for their intelligence and learning such as Nicostrata, legendry inventor of Latin alphabet, or Hortensia, educated by her father Quintus Hortensius, surpassing him in her command of oratory , and Novella, taught by her father to be a lecturer in law.Others are held up because of their great moral virtue Susanna, wife of Joachim, of Biblical myth, Lucretia, wife of Tarquinius Collatinus, who killed herself after being raped by Tarquin The Proud, and Xanthippe, wife of Socrates, who fought his death, and remained loyal to him ever afterwards.Throughout the book I was struck by Pizan s even handed approach towards the sexes This is no angry diatribe, but simply a defence of women and their abilities Given some of the extreme superstition that was levied against women in the Middle Ages I have just watched Robert Bartlett s series on television Inside the Medieval Mind , I felt that Pizan s position was generous.I was also interested that in the end of the book, the Virgin Mary was invited to head up the city, and the next two women mentioned for the city are the martyrs St Catherine and St Afra Maybe what issurprising is that all the book isn t Bible based, but rather it takes its examples from a variety of sources most of which came via the stories told in Giovanni Boccaccio s De mulieribus claris a treatise on ancient famous women , and Boccaccio s Decameron.Given my ignorance of things classical, mythical and Biblical throughout the book I was grateful to Wikipedia for giving me a bit of background on most of the women mentioned It also has an excellent introduction to the book itself.Finally, this book is outside my normal reading range, both in terms of its age and in terms of its content Considering this, a three star rating is good