The Love Debate Poems of Christine de Pizan

Barbara K. Altmann

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"Altmann is making a major contribution by providing this much-needed text of Christine's significant but inadequately known debate poems, together with essential philological, codicological, and historical background, annotations, together with a landmark literary-critical preface."--Nadia Margolis, editor, The Christine de Pizan Society Newsletter

This new edition of Christine de Pizan's love debate poems supercedes the only other modern edition (1886) by working from all existing fifteenth century versions and by using as a base manuscript the version now generally acknowledged as the definitive copy. The poems, Livre du Debat de deux amans, the Livre des Trois jugemens, and the Livre du Dit de Poissy are spirited discussions, of approximately 2000 lines, concerning the finer points of late-medieval love doctrine and protocol. Written early in the fifteenth century, they are significant both because of their contribution to the tradition of debates and dits by such authors as Guillaume de Machaut, Jean Froissart, and Alain Chartier, and because their author is arguably the most important female writer in the west before Austen.

Alongside the texts, Altmann provides the first extended study of these debates in their own right, offering a literary historical background to the form, analyzing Christine's use of the traditional form and content of the love debate, and providing sections on the codicology and philology of the poems. She also provides an introduction, summary, and textual notes for each of the poems as well as a glossary for nonspecialist readers.

Barbara K. Altmann is associate professor of French at the University of Oregon and author of articles on French medieval verse in French Studies and elsewhere.

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"The first critical edition of Debat de deux amans, Le Livre des trois jugements, and the Le Livre du dit Poissy since Maurice Roy's a century ago, this study by a leading Christine scholar is important for several reasons. . . . [T]his new edition combines the best features of traditional scholarship and modern interpretation." -- Choice Choice

"This is a beautifully produced scholarly edition of Christine de Pizan's three debate poems. . . . Prepared with great attention to detail, this edition gives us an excellent text of these poems which have received little scholarly attention, a situation which this edition may help to change."-- Arthuriana Arthuriana

"Altmann has put all late medieval scholars in her debt by making available an excellent critical edition of Christine de Pizan's three debate poems."-- Medium Aevum Medium Aevum

"The University Press of Florida is making an excellent name for itself in the medieval field by publishing remarkably good value volumes, with spacious page-layout, good pring, and nice bindings: this careful, scholarly book is a pleasing example. It is a pleasure to have the present compendium, a coherent set of debate-poems, which introduce a Christine likely to be particularly attractive from a twenty-first century point of view: not lyric, not didactic, not convolutedly allegorical." - FS FS

"This elegant volume, illustrated with four magnificent colour plates, is beautifully designed, a credit to publisher and editor. Barbara Altmann is to be congratulated on an extremely good edition that will be used with great profit by all Christine scholars." -Modern Language Review Modern Language Review

"Altmann's is a rich and complete critical edition." -French Review French Review

"A distinct contribution to our understanding of this now very popular fifteenth-century writer." -Speculum Speculum-A Journal of Medieval Studies

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