Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period

8-20-2014

Degree Program

French & Francophone Studies

Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded

2014

Month Degree Awarded

September

Advisor Name

Philippe

Advisor Last Name

Baillargeon

Co-advisor Name

Luke

Co-advisor Last Name

Bouvier

Third Advisor Name

Elizabeth

Third Advisor Middle Initial

E.

Third Advisor Last Name

Petroff

Abstract

This thesis focuses on Christine de Pizan’s mythological allegoric work entitled Epistre Othéa, written around 1400. True to the beliefs she portrays in many of her later seminal works, such as The Book of the City of Ladies, or The Treasure of the City of Ladies, Christine displays in this piece a strong didactic vision. The crucial pairing of text and image in the two manuscripts that I chose to focus on prove the power she exerted as a woman and as an artist but also mark her intention to strengthen her moral and political message through the use of different media.

The purpose of this thesis will be to analyze the polyphonic voice that emerges from both the textual and pictorial elements of the Epistre in order to decipher Christine de Pizan’s distinctive ideology. I propose to examine the re-interpretation of two mythological figures, Medea and Minerva, in the Epistre and investigate the impact of this conscious manipulation of sources on Christine de Pizan’s overall works. Furthermore, the comparison between the figures of Othea and Christine herself is analyzed as a way to affirm the author’s idiosyncratic stance and delineate the scope of her proto-feminist views.

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