Talk:Christine de Pizan

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is considered by scholars to be the first women writer

This is obviously wrong as written: Sappho predated her by something like 2000 years. Would the original author care to expand on what he meant? -- Paul Drye

Yep, entirely incorrect. She might be the first European woman to have made a living from writing, though even that is contested. We're not sure what Marie de France did for a living. --MichaelTinkler

Very true. What was meant by the statement, was that de Pizan was the first women author of note, in Europe to make a living from being a writer. This came directly from my humanities instructor -- although I myself find such statements hard to believe without rigid substantiation. I agree with the change. -- Maveric149

Just to continue this discussion - are we aware of any writers that earned a living by writing, before Christine? I was fairly certain that Edmund Spenser was the first European to do so. Atorpen 22:18 Jan 27, 2003 (UTC)
I don't know about authors prior to Christine, but she did earn a living by her pen for most of her adult life. This would mean that Spenser certainly wasn't the first — he was born a full century after she died.  — AnnaKucsma   (Talk to me!) 16:41, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
What evidence is there that Christine de Pizan earned a living by writing? Are her household accounts available? The primitive printing technology of the time would not have allowed mass distribution of her works so who purchased them and at what price? Xxanthippe (talk) 21:58, 30 December 2007 (UTC).

Sorry - I love the picture; Christine might even have overseen it (she did for some of her books produced in her lifetime), but it's an image from a book owned by a library or museum. They hold copyright - and tend to protect them jealously. --MichaelTinkler

What's with all the references to her via her first name? Is this conventional? Loren

I'm not certain if "Pizan" or "de Pizan" can really be thought of as a last name in the modern sense and thus saying "Pizan" instead of "Christine" would be wrong. --mav
I've also seen her referred to as "Christine de Pisan" (with an S instead of a Z).  — AnnaKucsma   (Talk to me!) 20:37, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
Indeed, in writing about the Middle Ages, scholarly convention is to refer to people whose names have the "____ de ____" construction by their first names, for, at that stage, the "de ____" was often actually identifying where a person was from, and wasn't yet equivalent to a modern last name. I do not know exactly when that changes, so I can't say with 100% certainty that it has not changed by Christine's day, which is the main reason I don't edit it back. But given the scholarly conventions I've been taught regarding writing about the Middle Ages, this "Pizan"/"de Pizan" feels very wrong. I'll see if I can pursue further information and settle the question. --Paulbee 04:33, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Convention had not changed by Christine's day, I am certain of this. I'm not certain of the timeline for that change either, but I'd guess closer to the age of print (though even then, spellings and appellations weren't always rigid). It is conventional to refer to anyone -- male or female -- with an "of somewhere" by primary name. So in the same way we discuss Mary Queen of Scots as "Mary" so we discuss Christine de Pizan or Jean de Meun as "Christine" or "Jean." Mys46637 18:45, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

She also wrote about the victory of Joan of Arc at the Battle of Agincourt

If this statement is correct, it should be clarified that this is Alternative history. (Joan was 3 at the time, and the French lost.) --Townmouse 08:38, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Actually, the the idea's right but not the battle. Christine wrote about Joan's most famous victory, the lifting the Siege of Orléans.  — AnnaKucsma   (Talk to me!) 13:56, 25 July 2006 (UTC); edited 15:54, 27 July 2006 (UTC)


Some parts of this article read more like a persuasive paper than an encyclopedic article. --Fang Aili 17:22, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

The text overall isn't that bad. The references are cited in that ugly parenthetical way, but there's nothing too POV in there. Some uncited weasel phrasing ("Overall, de Pizan and her writings have been celebrated and embraced" By whom? We don't even have a "Influence" section.) crops up now and again, but it's nothing a rigorous copy-edit couldn't fix. The headings, though, are terrible. "Establishing her literary reputation" "Making her mark" "an authoritative rhetorician". The whole article seems like it would do well to receive a division into "Life" and "Work", without all the high-flown pop biographical phrasing. Geuiwogbil 18:56, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Done. Hope no one minds. Geuiwogbil 00:30, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

Wait, I reread it. Indeed, it seems too much like a essaye with aims at persuasion. Something more serious need be done. Geuiwogbil 18:58, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Pizan or Pisan[edit]

I know that her name is a transliteration of French, but is it correctly Pisan or Pizan? The article is inconsistant as to which is preferred or correct.

Indeed. I've only ever seen it as Pisan elsewhere, although Pizan seems to have some mentions in the literature. We at least need to be consistent throughout our article. I've changed all Pisans to Pizans. JackofOz 10:44, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
I, too, have seen it written almost exclusively as "Pisan" but would rather have a consistant spelling. Where I do see variation (in a fairly even split) is in calling her "of Pisan" or "de Pisan," though given Wikipedia's preference for calling everything by their English names — Mary Queen of Scots married François II of France, here called Francis II of France — I think it's setteled on an "of."  — AnnaKucsma   (Talk to me!) 19:08, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Christine's name comes from her father's city of origin: Pizzano. So technically, Pizan is probably more accurate, but Pisan is a French phonetic spelling of the proper sound to her name (but it promotes the misunderstanding that she was from Pisa). Understandably French speakers tend to use Pisan, Italian speakers Pizan. I'm not sure if there is a "correct" spelling that Anglophones should adopt; consistency is the best best. Mys46637 18:40, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Her name: the city of origin, as noted above, is Pizzano. Until a decade or two ago, it was often given as "Pisan" in French AND English, but that's both incorrect and conceivably misleading: as noted above, some readers and students assumed that she or her father came from Pisa. More important, she herself should not be referred to as "Pizan" or "de Pizan," as in the article; that is the equivalent of referring to Guillaume d'Orange/William of Orange as "Orange." The poet in question is either "Christine" or "Christine de Pizan," but definitely not Pizan. I edited the article to correct that.

In that regard, since it's not a true surname, she also ought not to be referred to (as she is in the article, repeatedly) as just "De Pizan" but as "Christine." --Michael K SmithTalk 17:25, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Her work: there is a contradiction in the article, and I have left it. In the 2nd par., we read that she completed 41 pieces, but later we read that she wrote over 300 ballades as well as other poems. How to reconcile these statements? Njl2 (talk) 14:50, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

As with the date discrepancies (I mentioned some below on the talk page), there's a lot of issues with things not matching up in the article--she was an extremely prolific writer and one source (I admit I forget whom, but I'll dig it up) quoted one of her works, which stated roughly that in six years, between 1397 and 1403, she wrote fifteen important books (disregarding minor essays) and that her collected works from that time, compiled, would fill seventy large copy-books. It doesn't seem to agree with the article's statement in the second paragraph unless they're only counting major works or books? It more closely agrees with the "over 300" number, but at the same time I don't know of any concrete statistics of that, either. I'll keep looking. Tehae (talk) 20:08, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Her Husband?[edit]

I could have sworn Etienne du Castel was a castle not a man's name. Are the writer's of this page sure that was his name?

Heri Larien 01:24, 22 December 2006 (UTC)Heri Larien

No, Etienne du Castel is/was not a castle, though it would seem like a logical assumption if you haven't taken any French. Étienne is the French form of the name "Stephen," and du translates as "of the" when preceeding masculine nouns (de, "of", + le, "the").  — AnnaKucsma   (Talk to me!) 22:48, 25 December 2006 (UTC), tweaked 15:50, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Date conflicts?[edit]

Been poking around in researching her life and it seems her date of birth is somewhat contested (even on the French Wikipedia it's given as both 1363 and 1364, in different places; there was at least one source that I found that suggested 1365 instead), as is her date of death (as nothing was heard from her after her work on Joan of Arc, published in July of 1429). Not sure if anyone has any more concrete sources for any of these topics? I'll keep looking and see if I can amend the article as necessary.

Regardless, the math doesn't add up--if she was born in 1363 and married at age fifteen to Etienne, then she would be married in 1378, not 1380 (since Charles died late 1380, I suppose they would have married earlier in the year... Even if she was born late in 1363 it would still mean 1378 or early 1379 as a wedding year if she was fifteen at the time of marriage). Similarly if she was born in 1364, her marriage would have been in 1379 instead (as French Wikipedia suggests)... Although again I've got no concrete sources on that other than consensus that she was married at fifteen, although Willard suggests they married in 1980. If she was widowed at the age of 24 in 1390, then that would mean she was born in 1366; some sources argue her husband died in 1389 instead (meaning a birthdate of 1365, should she have been widowed at age 24), although French Wikipedia concurs with the date of 1390.

I don't suppose anyone could shed some light on this matter? Or would it be something that should be smoothed out in the article (eg: remove vague age references if concrete dates are available that conflict with said age references)? Tehae (talk) 19:54, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Suggested resources[edit]

Hi all,

A possibly useful resource - there was a five-year academic project to produce a digital edition of the Queen's Manuscript (BL Harley MS. 4431), a comprehensive collected work prepared for Isabeau of Bavaria under de Pizan's supervision, c. 1414. (The "presents her book" illustration here is taken from the MS). As well as many smaller works, it includes a full (?) copy of Le livre de la cité des dames.

I'm currently working with the BL and the AHRC (the funders of the project), hence why I'm leaving this note here rather than just adding the links; any objection to my adding one or both to the external links? Andrew Gray (talk) 13:36, 7 August 2012 (UTC)