Author(s): Şafak ALTUNSOY

This study analyzes a Medieval woman writer’s, Christine de Pizan’s opinions on the courtly love and her counter arguments by focusing on her The Book of the Duke of True Lovers. As an intellectual, de Pizan crusades against the dominant misogyny in her day through her works which function as an answer to the other male writers underlining women’s secondary status in the Medieval period. Since de Pizan argues the wrongness of misogyny by means of literature’s soft power, she does not only gain respect from educated circles and aristocracy in her time but also finds an appropriate agency in order to spread her own ideas to large masses despite illiteracy widespread in the Middle Ages. Although to apply such a modern concept as ‘feminism’ to a medieval woman writer is quite problematic, it can be said that de Pizan developed an idiosyncratic perception of feminism in her time by combining her devoutness of Catholic teachings to the defence of women’s position in her society. In other words, she does not blame the religious teachings for the degraded position of the women in her time. On the contrary, she puts blame on the immoral examples and advice encouraging women to be considered as the representatives of Satan and doers of evil deeds. Duke of True Lovers, in this respect, solidifies her attitude towards the negative influence of courtly love towards women. The study tries to demonstrate in what way Duke of True Lovers differentiates from the conventional romances by concentrating on de Pizan’s evaluation of love as a concept by referring to certain characters, Duke, The Lady and her confidante in the tale. The study concludes that de Pizan’s definition of love is based on her moral values and Christian belief. Conventions of the courtly love lead to a wrong perception of love. Although de Pizan does not disregard love as a whole, she deduces that it should be balanced and controlled in accordance with the rules of society since even a ‘true’ love can be harmful to the women in the medieval period.


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