A French writer who lived c. 1364-1430, she is said to be the first woman to make her living from writing
*. Her best-known work is The City of Ladies
. She was a feminist
and argued against the repression of women implicit in the romantic
She was born in Venice. Her father Tommaso da Pizzano was a Venetian, who was appointed secretary and astrologer to Charles V of France when Christine was very young. They moved to Paris and he was there called Thomas de Pizan, or Pisan (the latter probably by false association with Pisa, but now the usual spelling). She was brought up at court, highly educated in all the classical humanities. At the age of about fourteen she married a courtier, Etienne de Castel. He died in c. 1390, and her father and her protector the king were also dead; refusing invitations from Henry IV of England and Galeazzo Visconti of Milan, she began to write to support herself and her three children. She was prolific in many forms until she retired to a Dominican convent at Poissy in 1418, though she still followed events and her final work was in praise of Joan of Arc.
One of the most popular works of the age was the Roman de la Rose, a long allegorical tale. Christine's objections to the treatment of women in it were set out in her Epistres du debat sur le Roman de la Rose, c. 1402. In Le Livre de la cite des dames (The City of Women, c. 1405) she sets out a positive vision of an ideal city populated by famous women of the past, showing their many achievements and their importance for the world.
An accomplished poet in a variety of styles, her poetic works include Le Livre du chemin de long estude (c. 1402-1403), Le Livre de la mutacion de fortune (c. 1400-1403), Cent Ballades (c. 1410), and Le Dittie de Jeanne d'Arc (1429) .
Her Vision of Christine (1405) was autobiography, an unusual thing for that time, and indeed much of her writing contained personal observations. She wrote a biography of King Charles V, commissioned by his brother the Duke of Burgundy.
The ubiquitous Catholic Encyclopaedia, lapped up by many other sites about her
http://erc.lib.umn.edu/dynaweb/french/@Generic__CollectionView%3Bpt%3Dfrench for e-texts of a number of her works, in the original
Caveat: I can't find a single date that all the websites agree on, unless they're obviously copying from the Catholic Encyclopaedia, so everything without a "c.' in front of it should really have one; and Middle French spelling is variable too.
* The same claim is apparently sometimes made of Aphra Behn a few centuries later.