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The Book of the City of Ladies

Christine de Pizan

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The Book of the City of Ladies


Christine de Pizan




The Book of the City of Ladies, or Le Livre de la Cité des Dames, is perhaps Christine de Pizan's most famous literary work, and it is her second work of lengthy prose. Pizan uses the vernacular French language to compose the book, but she often uses Latinate syntax and conventions within her French prose. The book serves as her response to Jean de Meun's The Romance of the Rose. Christine combats Meun's sexist beliefs by creating an allegorical city of ladies. She defends women by collecting a wide array of famous females throughout history. These women are "housed" in the City of Ladies, which is actually Christine's book. As Christine builds her city, she uses each famous woman as a building block for not only the walls and houses of the city, but also as building blocks for her defense of female rights. Each woman added to the city adds to Christine's argument towards women as active participants in society. She also advocates for female and male equality within the realm of education.

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