Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Christine de Pizan, Challenges, Choices

from Collected Works of Christine de Pizan
 Maybe I just missed something but I'd venture to say that I'm not the only one who didn't learn about Christine de Pizan in history class.  I found her by accident while searching for something else. 
So, who was she? One of the earliest feminists, authors, poetesses, and single working mothers.  Being born to a prominent family in 1363 Italy gave her advantages that only partially helped with the challenges she faced in her life.  Check out Christine de Pizan  to learn about her. 
What interested me was that she didn't actually set out to do the things she did. She enjoyed learning and went along with her father's teachings.   She was in love with her husband.  She didn't plan on both men dying and thrusting her into a man's role at a time when women were little more than possessions.  She had to support herself and her family while trying to console her grief through writing.  As she met the challenges, she learned of injustices towards women and spoke out against them.  This lead to success in a world where women weren't welcomed with open arms.  She never remarried, as most women would at that time. Was it because she couldn't replace her lost love or just had too many other things to do?  I don't know.  Amazing, too, that she lived to be 96 years old--in the 1300s. She lived out the courage of her convictions in a big way. 
It was more than coincidence that I came upon Christine's challenging career choices.  I needed some encouragement.  In work and personal life I'm facing challenges.  It seems the more I take a proactive, positive stance, the more I'm met with resistance.  I've questioned myself more than once, as I imagine Christine did, but I've never been the one to take the common road and I certainly don't want to live against my convictions.
The problems aren't any easier in the 21st century than they were in the 14th, but if she can live to 96 years old after being a successful writer and single woman in the 1300's, then I'm encouraged to be up to my task in 2013.  I don't delude myself into thinking the challenges will be easy, but nothing worth having is attained without cost.
What challenges do you face?  What choices do you have to make in order to meet the challenge?  Who do you look to for encouragement? 
If you don't feel up to the task and start to question yourself,  do you give up or fake it until your confidence returns?   

Ok, I can't get by without saying my favorite C word:  Coffee. 


  1. Great post. I've never heard of this great lady but I'm going to check her out. And I just had a GREAT cup of coffee! :)

    Hope you have a good day. Thanks for popping over to my blog. Miss you! We'll be back in LC in June!!

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog. Coffee is my favorite C word too.

  3. I wonder why we never get to learn about cool people like Christine. Not that people like George Washington and Nathan Hale aren't cool.

  4. What an inspiring woman. Never heard of her.
    That is a story to kick our butts and stir us on eh?


  5. Thanks a lot for your interesting blog.

    Christine de Pisan’s favourite C word would have to be Courage like the allegorical figure in “the City of Ladies” (“Cité des Dames”).

    I have been fond of Christine de Pisan for quite a while reading a lot about her life. In "Le livre de la Cité des Dames", she mentions Anastaise praising her skills as an "enlumineresse".

    I advise you the reading of the ebook "Anastaise, the Sharpened medieval Quill" by A. Warwick.

    The historical fiction deals with the querelle du roman de la rose and the ideas of Christine de Pisan and her role in the Court of King Charles VI.