MHC’s Margolis Discusses First Feminist

Nadia Margolis, visiting professor of French and medieval studies, has written a groundbreaking new book about Christine de Pizan, An Introduction to Christine de Pizan: New Perspectives on Medieval Literature: Authors and Traditions. Christine, who lived in France during the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, was a pioneering intellectual and one of the first known women to support herself through writing. She was widowed at 25 with three children to raise and no family to support her. She survived by writing, producing, and publishing books, poems, and pamphlets on a variety of topics, from philosophy to law, from literary criticism to treatises on women’s status in society.

In the past three decades, there has been a boom in “Christine studies.” However, no work has yet brought together the full body of her work and analyzed it—until now. In her book, Margolis provides a biography of Christine, a complete account of all her work with summaries and commentary, and an analysis of Christine’s sources.