By Margaret E. Loebe
Honors Journal (2006)
Introduction: Christine de Pizan, a fifteenth-century French writer, was the first professional female author to publish in her own name since Sappho in Ancient Greece. Not only did Christine champion women’s moral equality with men, but she also mastered traditionally masculine genres of authority, when publishing a handbook on military strategy. Her prose was equally pioneering: she used Latinate sentence structures in vernacular French. She is also considered to be one of the first “authors” in French literature.
Christine emerges as one of the very first, if not the first, female advocates of women’s equality with men. Christine’s thought was Janian; while her view of literature and the status of women hailed an incipient humanism, her political thought remained medieval. The Querelle de la Rose, the epistolary exchange during which Christine develops her argument about women, is considered to be the first séance of the querelle des femmes.