Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Comparative Literature and Literary Theory

First Advisor

Kevin Brownlee

Abstract

Christine de Pizan (ca. 1364–1430?) was the first professional secular woman writer of late-medieval (or early modern) France. Despite her significance in global literary history, her lyric poetry has remained, for the most part, un-translated. For my dissertation, I have produced the first complete English translation of her poetic masterpiece, 100 Ballades of a Lady and a Lover (Cent Ballades d’Amant et de Dame, ca.1409–1410; hereafter CBAD), together with a critical introduction and annotations situating her work within its broader literary-historical context.

In the introduction, I examine the CBAD in terms of three kinds of literary forms: lyric style, narrative structure, and manuscript sequence. I argue that the narrative structure of the CBAD can be traced back through the debate poems of Guillaume de Machaut and the trouvères as well as the myth of Tiresias in the Ovide moralisé (a fourteenth-century adaptation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses). In the sequence of texts that appear in the Queen’s Manuscript—in other words, in the context of the collected works of Christine de Pizan—I observe that the CBAD is positioned as a final masterpiece, one that cites and even corrects some of Christine’s previous writings on the subject of fin’amors. In terms of lyric style, I read the CBAD as an emulation of Guillaume de Machaut and Eustache Deschamps, especially the Voir Dit and Fontaine amoureuse of Machaut and the lays and virelais of Deschamps.

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