Document Type

Book Chapter


In this chapter I wish to explore the intersection between the politics of Christine de Pizan's literary authority-that is, the strategies she deploys to promote the authoritative status of her texts-and her literature of political authority. Of particular interest in this literature is her articulation of active roles for women within the medieval polity, and feminized models of the state. Through an examination of these texts, focusing in particular on her political epistles, I will analyze how Christine's claim to literary authority relates to and in fact underwrites her bid for more concrete forms of feminine political authority. My examination dwells chiefly on Christine's complex evocation of a range of Marian traditions, and in particular that of the mater dolorosa, not only to authorize her voice in a number of texts but also to offer models of political agency for women.