To read Christine de Pizan’s Livre du Duc des vrais amans (c. 1403 –1405) as a literary demystification of the erotic ideology promulgated by courtly literature is hardly controversial. Kevin Brownlee has demonstrated how the Duc ’s formal, narrative, and discursive characteristics put it in conversation and confrontation with, on the one hand, the classic fourteenth-century dit amoureux as exemplified by the works of Guillaume de Machaut and Jean Froissart, and on the other hand the thirteenth-century Roman de la Rose, which casts a long shadow over Christine’s sustained “revisionary endeavor” to challenge love literature’s “discursive and generic models by simultaneously modifying and utilizing them” (Brownlee 172). As Roberta Krueger argues, the Duc— the pseudo-autobiographical account of a young male aristocrat’s initiation into the practice of fine amour, his affair with the unnamed lady who grants him her love, and the social pressures that eventually cause their relationship to peter out—identifies, performs, and “deconstructs the seductive strategies” through which courtly texts recruit complicit (female) readers, revealing the erotological tradition’s “masculinist bias” and thus transforming a kind of “fiction . . . potentially deleterious to women readers into a fiction whose example might be instructive for them”


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pp. 355-374
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