The Female Creator: Christine de Pizan and Her Books


ACLS Fellowship Program


Modern Languages and Linguistics


This study assesses the significance of Christine de Pizan’s supervision of her own exceptionally prolific scriptorium, which produced 54 manuscripts devoted exclusively to her own texts. It focuses on her workshop's 1414 tour de force, the Queen's Manuscript. Besides authoring the collection’s 30 texts, de Pizan transcribed some or all of them in her own hand and oversaw the execution of the collection’s extensive iconographic cycle. Her direction of production from text to completed book allowed her to exercise maximum control over the construction of her own public image. Indeed her genius was to have grasped the necessity of controlling the means of production to ensure that her voice be heard as she intended. Exploiting her position of authority to address matters crucial to the proper functioning of the French body politic, de Pizan became the first non-religious female public intellectual.