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Boccaccio, Christine de Pizan, and Marital Affection: The Case for Common Ground

Boccaccio, Christine de Pizan, and Marital Affection: The Case for Common Ground While there is a long history of viewing Boccaccio's De mulieribus claris (Famous Women) as a misogynist text in response to which Christine de Pizan's Livre de la Cité des Dames (Book of the City of Ladies) constitutes a proto-feminist critique, this essay compares these works for their similarities rather than their differences. Boccaccio and Christine are both profoundly concerned with marital affection, an emotion in a state of flux in late-medieval Europe. Through narrative, both authors attempt to theorize how this emotion should be experienced and performed by the virtuous wife. In De mulieribus and Cité , Boccaccio and Christine struggle to develop narratives of marital affection distinct from courtly love traditions, even as they repeatedly draw on courtly love to establish emotional authenticity. As a result, narrative cruxes and inconsistencies in De mulieribus and Cité point to emotional cruxes and inconsistencies, to aspects of marital affection that were difficult and troubling to late medieval societies. Giovanni Boccaccio Christine de Pizan marital affection courtly love history of emotion http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Duke University Press

Boccaccio, Christine de Pizan, and Marital Affection: The Case for Common Ground

Comparative Literature , Volume 68 (3) – Sep 1, 2016

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Duke Univ Press
ISSN
0010-4124
eISSN
1945-8517
DOI
10.1215/00104124-3631567
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

While there is a long history of viewing Boccaccio's De mulieribus claris (Famous Women) as a misogynist text in response to which Christine de Pizan's Livre de la Cité des Dames (Book of the City of Ladies) constitutes a proto-feminist critique, this essay compares these works for their similarities rather than their differences. Boccaccio and Christine are both profoundly concerned with marital affection, an emotion in a state of flux in late-medieval Europe. Through narrative, both authors attempt to theorize how this emotion should be experienced and performed by the virtuous wife. In De mulieribus and Cité , Boccaccio and Christine struggle to develop narratives of marital affection distinct from courtly love traditions, even as they repeatedly draw on courtly love to establish emotional authenticity. As a result, narrative cruxes and inconsistencies in De mulieribus and Cité point to emotional cruxes and inconsistencies, to aspects of marital affection that were difficult and troubling to late medieval societies. Giovanni Boccaccio Christine de Pizan marital affection courtly love history of emotion

Journal

Comparative LiteratureDuke University Press

Published: Sep 1, 2016

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