Christine de Pizan (1364-1429?), France's first woman of letters, is widely known for her Book of the City of Ladies (Persea, 1982), a classic work of revisionist history that seeks to show that women are the moral and intellectual equals of men. In recent years, Christine has taken her place within the canon of Western literature alongside Boccaccio and Dante, and yet very little of this writer's considerable oeuvre has been translated into English. The Writings of Christine de Pizan remedies this situation. In this volume, major scholars and acclaimed translators unite in a single endeavor: to make the full range of this important writer's work and thought widely known. Edited by Charity Cannon Willard, foremost authority on Christine de Pizan, The Writings presents lengthy excerpts from nearly all of Christine's works in accurate and gracious translations. Introductory essays by Dr. Willard mark the major divisions of the book and set the writings in an historical, biographical, and literary context. References are annotated, and the sources of the translations are cited. The volume also includes biographical notes on the translators, extensive bibliography, and an index. Many years in the making, The Writings of Christine de Pizan has been long-awaited by both the general reader and the specialist. Among the writings are passages from Christine's autobiography; lyric and allegorical poetry; excerpts from her official biography of King Charles V the Wise; her writings on women, warfare, politics, love, and the human condition; writings from her part in the famous Quarrel of the Rose; and Christine's triumphant poem on Joan of Arc, the only contemporaneous account in existence. The translators are Barbara K. Altmann, Diane Bornstein, Regina deCormier, Dwight Durling, Thelma S. Fenster, Eric Hicks, Nadia Margolis, June Hall McCash, Glenda McLeod, Christine Reno, Earl Jeffrey Richards, Kittye Delle Robbins-Herring, Sandra Sider, James J. Wilhelm, Charity Cannon
Edited by perhaps the foremost authority on the life and writings of medieval writer de Pizan, this volume is an impressive compilation of the early feminist's work. The collection is designed as an overview of de Pizan's life and works, many offered here in English translation for the first time. De Pizan was considered a formidable force in the literary circles of her day, and her writing ranged widely--from politics to lyric and allegorical poetry; she was also an important chronicler of society and an advocate of women's rights. Translated from the complex writing style of 15th-century France into a readable and enjoyable menu, this is a valuable addition to any collection by itself or as a complement to the successful The Book of the City of Ladies (Persea, 1982), de Pizan's most popular title.-- Jacqueline Garlesky, Univ. of Pittsburgh, Johnstown, Pa.