The Book of Peace

The Book of Peace: By Christine de Pizan

Christine de Pizan
Karen Green
Constant J. Mews
Janice Pinder
Tania Van Hemelryck
Alan Crosier
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 360
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  • Book Info
    The Book of Peace
    Book Description:

    Christine de Pizan, one of the earliest known women authors, wrote the Livre de paix (Book of Peace) between 1412 and 1414, a period of severe corruption and civil unrest in her native France. The book offered Pizan a platform from which to expound her views on contemporary politics and to put forth a strict moral code to which she believed all governments should aspire. The text’s intended recipient was the dauphin, Louis of Guyenne; Christine felt that Louis had the political and social influence to fill a void left by years of incompetent leadership. Drawing in equal parts from the Bible and from classical ethical theory, the Livre de paix was revolutionary in its timing, viewpoint, and content. This volume, edited by Karen Green, Constant J. Mews, and Janice Pinder, boasts the first full English translation of Pizan’s work along with the original French text. The editors also place the Livre de paix in historical context, provide a brief biography of Pizan, and offer insight into the translation process.

    eISBN: 978-0-271-05492-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. 1-32)
    Karen Green

    Christine de Pizan (1364–1430) stands out in the history of women’s ideas as a rare example of a late medieval woman—one who mastered the literary and scholarly conventions of her time in order to produce highly valued texts that demonstrate her command of contemporary Latin and vernacular wisdom. Born in Venice, she spent all but her very first years in Paris, where her father was employed as an astrologer and physician by the king, Charles V. After his death in 1380, Christine and her family suffered the impoverishment and death of her father, followed by the death of...

    (pp. 33-40)
    Constant J. Mews

    Among the writings of Christine de Pizan, theLivre de paixis unusual for its use of Latin texts cited at the opening of every chapter, as well as for its quotation and paraphrase of these sources within the French text. The extent of these Latin quotations, mostly from the Bible and from a range of classical texts, presented without grammatical error in the Brussels manuscript, and translated by Christine with great accuracy, leaves us in no doubt about her capacity to read Latin.¹ In this respect, our research confirms the conclusions reached by Gabrielle Parussa from her study of...

    (pp. 41-52)
    Tania Van Hemelryck

    Christine de Pizan’sLivre de paixhas survived in three manuscripts, two of which are in public collections. The first of these, found in the Bibliothèque royale de Belgique in Brussels (ms 10366), is contemporary with the author and was copied and corrected by Christine some time during the period 1412–14.¹ The second, conserved in a collection of works at the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris (ms fr. 1182), is dated by its watermarks to the second half of the fifteenth century.²

    Apart from these two manuscripts, theLivre de paixalso exists in a third manuscript, apparently...

    (pp. 53-56)
    Janice Pinder

    In the French text reproduced here we have attempted to provide as accurate a reading as possible of the manuscript Brussels, Bibliothèque royale de Belgique/ Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België (ms 10366), which is the basis of our English translation.

    The critical edition by Charity Cannon Willard, produced before the autograph manuscripts of Christine’s works had been identified (see “Description of the Manuscripts”), has a number of problems,¹ which made it necessary to establish a correct text on which to base the English translation. We have chosen to use the Brussels manuscript as the basis of our text, on the grounds...

  9. The Book of Peace
    • PART 1
      (pp. 58-92)

      Here begins the table of contents of theBook of Peace, which is dedicated to the noble and excellent prince the Duke of Guyenne, eldest son of the King of France. Begun on the first day of September, after peace was sworn between our lords of France at the city of Auxerre, in the year 1412.¹

      This book is divided into three parts. The first exhorts my lord of Guyenne to preserve the peace, and speaks of the virtue of prudence and its application in princely government. This first part was finished on the last day of November, but the...

    • PART 2
      (pp. 93-121)

      Here begins the table of contents of the second part of this book, begun on the third day of September, after the articles of peace were reconfirmed in the town of Pontoise, and our lords of France came in great joy and peace to Paris in the year of grace 1413.¹ This second part speaks again in praise of the good of peace, for the encouragement of the said lord of Guyenne, and of securing the princes and the knights in love, with reference to three virtues: justice, magnanimity (called high- or great–heartedness), and fortitude, giving the example of...

    • PART 3
      (pp. 122-198)

      Here begins the table of the third part of this book, which speaks of the good government of the people and the polity in relation to three other virtues: clemency, liberality, and truthfulness.

      1. The first chapter praises the virtue of clemency and kindness in a prince.

      2. How the people must be included in peace.

      3. Concerning the strength and power of France when she is at peace and united within herself.

      4. Concerning the evil wrought by bad men who are powerful and have authority.

      5. More on the bad lord, on the damage he does and the evil that comes from it....

  10. Le Livre de paix
    • PART 1
      (pp. 200-229)

      (fol. 1r) Cy commence la table des rubriches du livre de paix, lequel s’adrece a tres noble et excellent prince monseigneur le duc de Guyenne, ainsné filz du roy de France, encommencié le premier jour de septembre, aprés l’apointement de la paix juree en la cité d’Auxerre entre noz seigneurs de France en l’an de grace mil iiii cent et douze.

      Le dit livre est parti en trois parties: la premiere partie parle a l’ennortement de continuacion de paix a mondit seigneur de Guyenne sus la vertu de prudence et de ce que elle requiert en gouvernement de prince. Acomplie...

    • PART 2
      (pp. 230-254)

      (fol. 28r) Cy commence la table des rubriches de la iiepartie de ce livre. Laquelle iiepartie fu commenciee le iiiejour du mois de septembre aprés les convenances de paix rejurees en la ville de Pontoise, et que noz seigneurs de France vindrent a grant joye et paix a Paris, en l’an de grace mil iiii cent et xiii. Et parle de rechief ladicte iiepartie a louenge et bien de paix a l’ennortement dudit monseigneur de Guyenne et de tenir les princes en amour et la chevalerie sur iii vertus, c’est assavoir justice, magnanimité que on dit...

    • PART 3
      (pp. 255-322)

      Cy commence la table de la tierce partie de ce livre qui parle de bien gouverner le peuple et la chose publique sur trois autres vertus. C’est assavoir clemence, liberalité, et verité.

      Le premier chapitre parle en louant la vertu de clemence et benignité en prince. i.

      Item, dit comment ceulx du peuple doivent estre compris en la paix. ii.

      Item, parle de la force et puissance de France quant elle est a unie ensoy meismes en bonne paix. iii.

      Item, du mal qui avient par mauvais homme puissant et qui ait seigneurie. iv.

      Item, encores de mauvais seigneur, du...

    (pp. 323-328)
    (pp. 329-340)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 341-348)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 349-349)