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Christine de Pisan

Chrisitne de Pisan




Christine de Pisan was born in Venice in c. 1363 at the start of the European Renaissance. She spent most of her childhood and all of her adult life primarily in Paris. She moved to Paris when she was 5 years old because her father became the astrologer, alchemist, and physician of King Charles V. Thomas de Pisan was her Italian father. In this atmosphere she was able to learn a great deal but not a real formal education. She successfully educated herself by immersing herself in languages. She spoke French, Italian, and Latin. She studied literature, mythology, history and the sciences. She also learned to read and write which was unusual for a girl. But she did not assert her abilities and interests and did not prove herself as a writer until she was widowed at the age of 24. Christine de Pisan got married in 1380 to Etienne de Castel when she was 15 years old. It was an arranged marriage but a happy one. Her husband was a nobleman and a scholar. He supported her writing and studies. They had three kids. They had a daughter who was born in 1381, a son named Jean who was born in 1385, and another son who died in childhood. But soon after their marriage King Charles V died therefore making her father loose his job. In 1385 her father got ill and died. Soon after that her husband died from an epidemic in 1389. Then things got much worse for Christina. She was left to take care of her mother, three little children, and her niece when she was about 25. She was very upset when her husband died. She would have panic attacks in the middle of the night. She was very shaken up. After Christina’s husband died she took up wrting to support her family.

The first poems that Christine wrote were poems and love ballads of lost love dedicated to the memory of her husband. She began to sell her writing to the nobles of the court trying to get money or valuable objects such as jewels. Some of her supporters include King Charles VI and Queen Isabeau of France, as well as the dukes of Burgundy and Berry. She got fame from her poems because the emotional appeal and technical skill. Soon she was able to support her family. This allowed her to not just write just for making money but for her own purposes. After 1400 she turned from poetry to writing many different things including a variety of topics, including her personal sufferings, politics, morals, religion, history, and eventually focused her writings on woman’s issues. She showed other woman how to survive and be successful in what was a man’s world.
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Christine instructing her son


At the end of her life she was so horrified by the war that was going on she retired to a convent. She died in 1434.

Some of Christine’s major works are still being read today like The Book of the City of Ladies. It is amazing to read it and know that is was written a long time ago when woman did not have writes and she was able to disagree and stand up for woman when men were writing negative things about woman. Some of her major works include; The Changes of Fortune which is a long poem about her life. The Epistles of Othea, a collection of ninety-nine allegorical tales. The Book of the city of Ladies in 1405 were she honored great woman. She was paid by King Charles V’s brother to write the biography of King Charles V called The Book of the Deed and Good Manners of the Wise King Charles V. She also wrote an autobiography in 1405 called Vision of Christine. The last she wrote was a dedication to Joan of Arc. She got even more fame by participating with other male writers in a literary debate now called “The Quarrel of the Rose.” In this debate she published letters challenging the negative attitudes toward woman.
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Christine writing


Christine de Pisan was an amazing woman because of the time that she lived in. Woman did not have independence or a voice but she had both. She fought against the popular views of women in that time. She influenced and inspired woman to fight for their rights. She had an amazing talent that she discovered when she had to get money for her family. You might have not known her name before but she probably had an influence on how we think of woman today.

Learn about these othere writers:
Learn about Dante Alighieri.
Lean about William Shakespeare.
Learn about Venice During the Renaissance.
Sources
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christine_de_pizan

http://search.eb.com/women/article-9082430
Renaissance volume 2
Six Medieval
Woman by Andrea Hopkins

Picture Sources
http://loh.loswego.k12.or.us/noblem/picts/christine_de_pisan.jpg is where I found the picture of Christine instructing her son.
http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/eliz1-scrots.jpg is where I got the picture of Christine de Pisan.
http://www.strangehorizons.com/2001/20010528/women/pisan.jpg is where I found the picture of Christine writing.