Skip to main content

Distributed for Iter Press

The Book of the Body Politic

Edited and Translated by Angus J. Kennedy
The first political treatise written by a woman.

Christine de Pizan’s The Book of the Body Politic is the first political treatise written by a woman. It not only advises the prince, but nobles, knights, and common people as well. It promotes the ideals of interdependence and social responsibility. Rooted in the mindset of medieval Christendom, The Book of the Body Politic heralds the humanism of the Renaissance, highlighting classical culture and Roman civic virtues. This new edition and translation offers a faithful rendering of Christine de Pizan’s writing, as well as a thorough contextualization of her career as a political writer at the end of the Middle Ages in France. The Book of the Body Politic resounds to this day, urging for the need for probity in public life and the importance of responsibilities and rights.

Iter Press image

View all books from Iter Press


“Kennedy’s new edition and translation of Christine’s Livre du corps de policie offers a copiously annotated introduction which covers Christine as political writer in this and other treatises; her extraordinary career as a woman writer claiming a voice equal to that of her male contemporaries; and the manuscripts of her Book, its dating, its historico-political context, and its sources. The translation, which highlights, in Kennedy’s words, ‘Christine’s uncompromising, labyrinthine, muscular style,’ closely follows the words and the sentence structure of the original. Together, edition and translation provide readers with an entirely reliable text and a meticulous translation of one of the most important works of lay political thought at the end of the Middle Ages in France.”

Jane Taylor, Professor, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Durham University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1
Christine de Pizan and The Other Voice 1
Christine’s Life and Works 7
Manuscripts and Date of Composition 15
Analysis of the Text 22
Historical Context 22
The Sources and Their Integration 36
Afterlife 45
Note on the Translation 52
Book of the Body Politic 55
Part 1 57
Part 2 115
Part 3 149
Concordance 169
Bibliography 173
Manuscripts 173
Catalogues 173
Dictionaries 174
Bibliographies 175
Texts A: Christine de Pizan 175
Texts B: Other Texts 182
Critical Studies 185
Annotated Index of Proper Names and Titles 197

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press