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Debate of the Romance of the Rose

Edited and Translated by David F. Hult

In 1401, Christine de Pizan (1365–1430?), one of the most renowned and prolific woman writers of the Middle Ages, wrote a letter to the provost of Lille criticizing the highly popular and widely read Romance of the Rose for its blatant and unwarranted misogynistic depictions of women. The debate that ensued, over not only the merits of the treatise but also of the place of women in society, started Europe on the long path to gender parity. Pizan’s criticism sparked a continent-wide discussion of issues that is still alive today in disputes about art and morality, especially the civic responsibility of a writer or artist for the works he or she produces.

In Debate of the “Romance of the Rose,” David Hult collects, along with the debate documents themselves, letters, sermons, and excerpts from other works of Pizan, including one from City of Ladies—her major defense of women and their rights—that give context to this debate. Here, Pizan’s supporters and detractors are heard alongside her own formidable, protofeminist voice.  The resulting volume affords a rare look at the way people read and thought about literature in the period immediately preceding the era of print.

384 pages | 1 halftone | 6 x 9 | © 2010

The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe

History: European History

Literature and Literary Criticism: Romance Languages


“[Hult’s] skillful translations and thoughtful contextualizations are well targeted to the student reader . . . [and] his historical and literary perspectives are both broad and critically nuanced. . . . A wonderful addition to the ‘Other Voice in Early Modern Europe’ series.”

C. M. Reno | Choice

Table of Contents


Series Editors’ Introduction

Volume Editor’s Introduction

Volume Editor’s Bibliography

I Christine and the
Rose before the Debate

1. From Christine de Pizan,
The God of Love’s Letter (May 1, 1399)

2. From Christine de Pizan, Moral Teachings (1399 or 1402?)

3. From Christine de Pizan, The Debate of Two Lovers (1400?)

II The Debate: First Phase

4. Jean de Montreuil to Pierre d’Ailly (Late May 1401)

5. Christine de Pizan to Jean de Montreuil (June–July 1401)

6. Jean de Montreuil to a Lawyer (July–August 1401)

7. Jean de Montreuil to a Prelate (July–August 1401)

8. Jean de Montreuil to Gontier Col (July–August 1401)

9. Jean de Montreuil to a Prelate (July–August 1401)

10. Jean de Montreuil to a Lawyer (July–August 1401)

11. Pierre d’Ailly, The Devout Soul’s Garden of Love (Summer 1401?)

12. From Jean Gerson, Considerate lilia (August 25, 1401)

13. Gontier Col to Christine de Pizan (September 13, 1401)

14. Gontier Col to Christine de Pizan (September 15, 1401)

15. Christine de Pizan to Gontier Col (Late September 1401)

16. Christine de Pizan to Isabeau de Bavière (February 1, 1402)

17. Christine de Pizan to Guillaume de Tignonville (February 1, 1402)

18. Christine de Pizan, Account of the Debate (February 1, 1402) 

III The Debate: Second Phase

19. Jean de Montreuil to a Great Poet (Either February / March or July / August 1402)

20. Jean Gerson, Treatise against the Romance of the Rose (May 18, 1402)

21. Pierre Col to Christine de Pizan (Late Summer 1402)

22. Christine de Pizan to Pierre Col (October 2, 1402)

23. Pierre Col to Christine de Pizan (Fragment, November 1402)

IV Aftermath

24. From Jean Gerson, Sermons of the
Poenitemini Series (December 1402)

25. Christine de Pizan, Ballade Addressed to the Queen of France (January 1, 1403)

26. Christine de Pizan, Rondeau Addressed to a Lord (January 1, 1403?)

27. Christine de Pizan, Ballade to an Unknown Addressee (January 1, 1403?)

28. Jean Gerson to Pierre Col (Winter 1402–3)

29. Jean de Montreuil to a High- Ranking Prelate (1403–4) 

V Christine’s Later Mentions of the
Romance of the Rose

30. From Christine de Pizan,
Book of Fortune’s Transformation (November 1403)

31. From Christine de Pizan, Book of the City of Ladies (1405)

32. From Christine de Pizan, Christine’s Vision (1405)

33. From Christine de Pizan, Book of Deeds of Arms and of Chivalry (1410)

Series Editors’ Bibliography

Index of People and Places

Index of Allegorical Personifications and Mythological and Fictional Characters

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