The literary debate known as the “querelle du Roman de la Rose” marks a critical moment in the centuries-long discussion on the merits of the thirteenth-century Rose. It also marks an important stage in Christine de Pizan’s efforts to gain authority in a masculine writing world, and to combat misogyny; as such, it participates in another centuries-long debate, that of the querelle des femmes. In this paper, I consider how an understanding the two querelles can be mutually informing, through an examination of the polemical uses of gender in the querelle of the Rose. What is the role of gender in the construction of the heated and at times inflammatory claims in this polemical debate? How are its declarations of outright hostility to be read? What is the value of ad hominem and, in this case, ad feminam attack? Far from being transparent declarations of impassioned emotion, these expressions constitute layered, coded performances of status and exclusion. Misogynist tropes in the querelle are more than rhetorical set pieces, and the ways they are employed reveal the contours of pre-modern thinking about gender and public discourse. I consider the central role of gender in the escalation of the terms of this polemic, and the ways in which gender-based polemic is intimately tied to emerging notions of public and private.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 341-354
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.