Alone Am I - A Contemporary Take on Christine De Pizan's Balladry



Alone Am I - A Contemporary Take on Christine De Pizan's Balladry


For my final project I chose to research Italian/French writer and poet Christine de Pizan (1364-1430). Born Cristina da Pizzano in September 1364, Christine became the court writer for King Charles VI of France and several other French dukes, after her husband died in 1390 she began writing as a career in effort to support her family and pay off his debts. She is widely regarded as the first writer in France to earn a living through her pen, and often considered one of the first prolific female writers whose works reached great success and influence amidst a patriarchal society. She wrote books and biographies and often explored proto-feminist themes, particularly in The Book of the City of Ladies and The Treasure of the City of Ladies, which argued in favour of educating women as a part of creating a virtuous city. Though these books were successful, perhaps most notable of Christine's were her lyrical poems and love ballads. Her ballads were the main focus for my project, wherein I wrote a musical-theatre style ballad from Christine's perspective. I pulled lyrical inspiration from Christine's own words through referencing many of her ballads, as well as referencing Medieval cultural and historical aspects such as her connection with Joan of Arc, her literary quarrel with Jean de Meun's Romance of the Rose for its vulgar portrayal of women, and her challenges navigating Medieval society as a woman. Musically, I wrote the song in chords categorized by the Dorian scale, which was popular at the time given the prevalence of the Church and Church music (Gregorian chants).

The final project is a 5 minute song from the perspective of Christine de Pizan that tells her story from the origin of her writing career, to reflections on her legacy as perhaps the "first of her kind" as a female writer, but certainly not the last.


Dani Wohl

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