by Christine Pizan
About the book: Christine de Pizan (c.1364-1430) was France's first professional woman of letters. Her pioneering Book of the City of Ladies begins when, feeling frustrated and miserable after reading a male writer's tirade against women, Christine has a dreamlike vision where three virtues - Reason, Rectitude and Justice - appear to correct this view. They instruct her to build an allegorical city in which womankind can be defended against slander, its walls and towers constructed from examples of female achievement both from her own day and the past: ranging from warriors, inventors and scholars to prophetesses, artists and saints. Christine de Pizan's spirited defence of her sex was unique for its direct confrontation of the misogyny of her day, and offers a telling insight into the position of women in medieval culture. THE CITY OF LADIES provides positive images of women, ranging from warriors and inventors, scholars to prophetesses, and artists to saints. The book also offers a fascinating insight into the debates and controversies about the position of women in medieval culture.
by Christine de Pizan
About the book: Written by Europe’s first professional woman writer, The Treasure of the City of Ladies offers advice and guidance to women of all ages and from all levels of medieval society, from royal courtiers to prostitutes. It paints an intricate picture of daily life in the courts and streets of fifteenth-century France and gives a fascinating glimpse into the practical considerations of running a household, dressing appropriately and maintaining a reputation in all circumstances. Christine de Pizan’s book provides a valuable counterbalance to male accounts of life in the middle ages and demonstrates, often with dry humour, how a woman’s position in society could be made less precarious by following the correct etiquette.
by Henricus Cornelius Agrippa
About the book: Originally published in 1529, the Declamation on the Preeminence and Nobility of the Female Sex argues that women are more than equal to men in all things that really matter, including the public spheres from which they had long been excluded. Rather than directly refuting prevailing wisdom, Agrippa uses women's superiority as a rhetorical device and overturns the misogynistic interpretations of the female body in Greek medicine, in the Bible, in Roman and canon law, in theology and moral philosophy, and in politics. He raised the question of why women were excluded and provided answers based not on sex but on social conditioning, education, and the prejudices of their more powerful oppressors. His declamation, disseminated through the printing press, illustrated the power of that new medium, soon to be used to generate a larger reformation of religion.
by Mary Wollstonecraft
About the book: In an era of revolutions demanding greater liberties for mankind, Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) was an ardent feminist who spoke eloquently for countless women of her time.
by Moira Ferguson
About the book: " "Moira Ferguson has selected wisely from well-known and little-known figures and from fiction, polemic and poetry to illustrate the long and diverse history of feminist reflection up to and including Mary Wollstonecraft.... Good reading for scholars and a fine book for classroom use." -- Natalie Zemon Davis." -- from back cover.
by Alice S. Rossi
About the book: Here are, as Alice Rossi claims in her well-written preface, 'the essential works of feminism, ' published over a period of 200 years. Her introductions to each section are informative and written with nonpolemical grace. -- Doris Grumbach, New Republic
by Mary Astell
About the book: Mary Astell’s A Serious Proposal to the Ladies is one of the most important and neglected works advocating the establishment of women’s academies. Its reception was so controversial that Astell responded with a lengthy sequel, also in this volume. The cause of great notoriety, Astell’s Proposal was imitated by Defoe in his “An Academy for Women,” parodied in the Tatler, satirized on the stage, plagiarized by Bishop Berkeley, and later mocked by Gilbert and Sullivan in Princess Ida.