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Distributed for Iter Press

"The God of Love’s Letter" and "The Tale of the Rose"

A Bilingual Edition. With Jean Gerson, “A Poem on Man and Woman,” Translated from the Latin by Thomas O’Donnell

Christine de Pizan was born in Italy and moved to the French court of Charles V when she was four years old. She led a life of learning, stimulated by her reading and by her drive to engage with the cultural and political issues of her day. As a young widow she sought to support her family through writing, and she broke new ground by pursuing a life as an author and self-publisher, producing an astonishingly large and varied body of work. Her books, owned and read by some of the most important figures of her day, addressed politics, philosophy, government, ethics, the conduct of war, autobiography and biography, and religious subjects.

The God of Love’s Letter (1399), Christine de Pizan’s first defense of women, is arguably her most succinct statement about gender. It also rebukes the thirteenth-century Romance of the Rose and anticipates Christine’s City of Ladies. The Tale of the Rose (1402) responds to the growth in chivalric orders for the defense of women by arguing that women, not men, should choose members of the “Order of the Rose.” Both poems are freshly edited here from their earliest manuscripts and each is newly translated into English.

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“These new editions and translations of two of Christine’s early works engaging with the misogyny of the Roman de la Rose will be invaluable not only to undergraduate and postgraduate students but also to specialists and readers interested in the later Middle Ages. The new material covered here is a tribute both to the editors’ meticulous scholarship and to the enormous strides made by Christine studies over recent years, particularly in our understanding of the manuscript tradition and Christine’s constant reworking of her texts over time.”

Angus J. Kennedy, University of Glasgow

Table of Contents

Foreword by Jocelyn Wogan-Browne
Christine de Pizan and the Other Voice
Background: The Roman de la Rose
Pushing Back 1: The Epistre au dieu d’Amours
Pushing Back 2: The Debat du Roman de la Rose
“Qui sont fames?” / Who Are Women?
“Par droite condicion et inclinacion naturelle” / Through Their Rightful Condition and Natural Inclination
The Intellectual Life of the Laity and the Place of the Epistre
The Dit de la Rose and Chivalric Orders
Presentation of French Text
Note on the Translations
L’Epistre au dieu d’Amours / The God of Love’s Letter
Rejected Readings and Variants to the French Edition
Notes to the French Edition
Notes to the English Translation
Le Dit de la Rose / The Tale of the Rose
Rejected Readings and Variants to the French Edition
Notes to the French Edition
Notes to the English Translation
Jean Gerson, A Poem on Man and Woman, translation, introduction, and note by Thomas O’Donnell
General Index
Index of Proper Nouns
Index of Topics in The God of Love’s Letter

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