Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Marie de France and Christine de Pizan: Contributions and Legacy to medieval French Literature


Modern Languages & Literatures Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Arts and Humanities


French literature of the middle ages is dominated by male figures. Male authors write stories in which male qualities are exalted in a male dominated world while many female protagonists are often painted in a less than flattering light or simply ignored At a time when misogyny permeates much of the literature, two female medieval authors, Marie de France and Christine de Pizan, offer a different approach to the literature of their times. It is interesting to note that, while both writers are widely recognized and studied by medieval scholars, they are still barely mentioned in the modern literature curriculum in France. It is not until French students undertake medieval studies at the college level that they discover their work. Marie de France twelvth century tales cast female characters whose voices challenge the male power and authority of her time. Fifteenth century Christine de Pizan, now considered an early feminist, took part in several political and literary conversations and became a major participant in the intellectual life of the late middle ages. In this paper, I will explore the ways in which both women writers contributions are critical in our understanding of medieval society.

Conference Name

Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters

Conference Location

Hope College, Holland MI

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