Title

Now a new kingdom of femininity is begun ... : The political theory of Christine de Pizan's The Book of the City of Ladies

Authors

EM Wheat

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1999

Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Abstract

Though it has been virtually ignored by historians of political thought, Christine de Pizan's The Book of the City of ladies (1405) is the first work of political theory on the grand scale by a woman. It is a serious analysis of the nature of political reality, and it offers a remedy common in the Western political tradition-the creation of a kallipolis, a utopian "city in words," to serve as a guide to political thought and practice. Though written in the form of a medieval allegory, The Book of the City of Ladies is remarkably modern in its elevation of individual reason, its analysis and critique of the social construction of private and public gender roles, and its hard-headed analysis of the use of power in political life. The book functions as a manual for princesses, in fact as a manual of empowerment for all women, and in its substance and its use of esoteric literary techniques can be fruitfully compared to Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince.

Publication Title

WOMEN & POLITICS

Volume

20

Issue

4

First Page

23

Last Page

47

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