Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Christine De Pizan: 'Le Livre Du Duc Des Vrais Amans'. A Critical Edition

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Christine De Pizan: 'Le Livre Du Duc Des Vrais Amans'. A Critical Edition

Article excerpt

Composed c. I403-5, Christine de Pizan's Le Livre du duc des vrai.r aman.ris a text that merits attention both for its subject-matter and for the manner in which it is written. Tracing an adulterous relationship between a duke and a married princess, and the disillusionment and suffering that outweigh the fleeting moments of happiness which the couple experience, Christine's narrative constitutes a scarcely veiled criticism of the central dogmas of courtly love. To judge by the letter sent to the princess by her governess, Sibylle de Monthault, and the sequence of poems that follows the duke's narrative, it is clear that for Christine adulterous love can never be equated (as it once was by Andreas Capellanus) with happiness and virtue. For the woman in particular, illicit love results only in misery and social degradation: `Car quant a la plaisance, soics certaine que en amours a cent mille fois plus de dueil, de cuisancons et dangiers perilleux, par especial du coste des dames, qu'il n'y a de plaisance' (p. I75, lines 39-4z). As well as offering a woman's perspective on courtly love, the text provides a fascinating demonstration of Christine's technical virtuosity (it combines verse and prose; the verse narrative is in heptasyllabic couplets, with inserted ballades, rondeaux and virelays, some of these displaying considerable linguistic inventiveness: e.g. Autre Balade, p. I40). Given these considerations, Thelma Fenster has put all late medieval scholars in her debt by making available an excellent critical edition of the French text that can be used alongside the Modern English translation recently published by Fenster and Nadia Margolis (New York, 1991). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.