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Christine de Pizan (1364- c. 1430)

Art by April Babcock (tumblr)

Christine de Pizan is one of the best known writers of the medieval period, yet if not for circumstances beyond her control she might never have picked up a pen.  The daughter of an Italian scientist at the court of Charles V of France, Christine was given a classical education before her marriage at the age of fifteen to a royal secretary named Etienne du Castel.  When she was 25, her beloved husband died in an epidemic.  As her father had already passed away, Christine found herself responsible for the care of not only herself and her two children, but also her mother and an orphaned niece.

Christine began writing love ballads that caught the attention of wealthy patrons who enjoyed both her poetry and the novelty of a female writer.  Christine wrote hundreds of poems, many on commission for specific nobles, and this work allowed her to support her family and clear the debts left after her husband’s death.

Christine’s most famous work, The Book of the City of Ladies (1405), is an impassioned defense of women.  It challenged misogyny by creating a symbolic city of righteous women.  The women profiled include historical figures such as Zenobia and Sappho, pagan goddesses such as Isis and Minerva, women from the Hebrew Bible such as Deborah and the unnamed Woman of Valor (Proverbs 31), and Christian saints such as the Virgin Mary and St. Lucy.  Christine’s book was a testimony to the accomplishments of women and argued for wider access to education for women. 

While The Book of the City of Ladies is primarily about female achievement, Christine also included an anti-rape message.  As a character in the book, Christine says “I am therefore troubled and grieved when men argue that many women want to be raped and that it does not bother them at all to be raped by men even when they verbally protest…”  Lady Rectitude, one of Christine’s guides in The Book of the City of Ladies, responds “Rest assured, dear friend, chaste ladies who live honestly take absolutely no pleasure in being raped. Indeed, rape is the greatest possible sorrow for them. Many upright women have demonstrated that this is true with their own credible examples…”

In 1418, Christine retired to a convent in Poissy.  At the convent she wrote one final poem which she dedicated to Joan of Arc.  It is the only known French language work about Joan of Arc written during Joan’s lifetime.


As promised, here is my feels-themed giveaway! The books/series above all have one thing in common - they made me feel something. That doesn’t necessarily mean I cried but they definitely inspired some kind of emotional response in my robot-like self. They’re also some of my favourite books. Hopefully there’s a decent enough selection for you to choose from.

5 people will be sent a book of their choice from the selection above if they’re randomly selected as winners.

Please read the following:

  • To enter, like and/or reblog this post
  • You may reblog the post as many times as you like but don’t annoy your followers too much with it
  • I would prefer if you were following me, since this giveaway is a ‘thank you’ to my followers
  • This giveaway is international, as I am purchasing books via Book Depository and they have free delivery for the majority of the world. Double check that your country is included here
  • Your inbox MUST be open. I won’t be contacting anyone via fan mail
  • Winners may also choose a sequel to the books pictured above if it’s part of a series
  • Winners may choose which edition of the book they want, so long as it is paperback and under $15 (AU). The only exception is The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, which is over $20 and hardback. I’ll only be buying this for one person (if they want it) so I have enough for the other books, sorry! I just love it so much and want to be able to share it with at least one person, even if it’s expensive
  • One of the books, Alexander Altmann A01567 is only available as a prize for Australians, as it is unavailable on Book Depository. If Aussies would like this book, I will order it for you from Bookworld
  • If you’re not sure which book you’d like, I’d be happy to tell you more about them and help you pick one that suits your tastes
  • No giveaway blogs
  • If you’re uncomfortable giving me your address, don’t be. I won’t be saving it or giving it out elsewhere or anything
  • The giveaway ends August 1st 12PM AEST
  • Winners will be selected using a random number generator and have 48 hours to get back to me. I’m quite lenient on that but I would prefer if people replied ASAP so I can be organised
  • If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me

Good luck and happy reading, word shakers!



"Consensual sex" is just sex. To say that implies that there is such a thing as "non consensual sex", which there isn’t. That’s rape. That is what it needs to be called. There is only sex or rape. Do not teach people that rape is just another type of sex. They are two very separate events. You wouldn’t say "breathing swimming" and "non breathing swimming", you say swimming and drowning.

This is a very good point.

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