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The Medieval French Pastourelle TraditionPoetic Motivations and Generic Transformations$
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Geri L. Smith

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813033365

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813033365.001.0001

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Christine de Pizan’s Dit de la pastoure

Christine de Pizan’s Dit de la pastoure

The Shepherdess as a Poet

(p.183) Chapter 4 Christine de Pizan’s Dit de la pastoure
The Medieval French Pastourelle Tradition

Geri L. Smith

University Press of Florida

In her 1403 Dit de la pastoure, Christine de Pizan turns the century-old French pastourelle inside-out. The most radical and sweeping innovation that Christine brings to bear on the pastourelle is the shift of the controlling narrative perspective and first-person voice to the shepherdess, the consequences of which are felt throughout the thematics of the poem. Christine recalls the trobairitz and women trouvères who appropriated lyric forms and reclaimed the words of their feminine poetic speakers, and she expands on an innovation fleetingly displayed by Adam's Marion and by Froissart's shepherdess in pastourelle. Christine pushes the feminine voice even further as a means, in part, to assert her own gendered poetic persona. The Dit is one chapter in Christine's literary and real-life struggle to carve out her place in the canon while setting the record straight on the value of women and the authority of women's experience.

Keywords:   Christine de Pizan, shepherdess, trobairitz, French pastourelle, women trouvères, feminine voice, poetic persona

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