(Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism)
1. Why do you think De Pizan cast her treatise as an allegory? What would have been especially resonant about the image of a walled and fortified city during this period?
2. How does the author frame her treatise? What has motivated her writing of this book?
3. What effect do the claims about women's evil and unworthy character have on her? What causes her to doubt her own judgment and experience?
4. For what does she pray? Are aspects of her prayer double-edged?
5. Why does the author choose to place many of her views in the voice of Lady Reason?
6. Do you think this is a separatist work? Why is it necessary to remove men from the new city?
7. What historical precedents does De Pizan use to confirm the capacities of women? What is indicated by the limited number of her examples?
8. What assumptions by men does Lady Reason attempt to refute? How can we know that these assumptions are in error?
9. What are alleged to be the motives of men who have attacked women and made claims about their bad character? How should they have accomplished their goals?
10. What is wrong with the view that women need no education, according to De Pizan and Lady Reason? What kind of education does De Pizan seem to have in mind?
11. What painful facts does she reveal about her private life? What roles did her father and mother respectively play in her life? Do you think this may have been a common pattern?
12. Why do you think she chooses as her model for right-thinking men those who have respected and educated their daughters? Why do you think she fails to mention women who have educated their daughters?
13. To whom do you think this treatise may be addressed?
14. What is the purpose of the final testimonial to the value of her own education? Why do you think the author places this in the voice of Lady Reason?
15. What are some similarities in preoccupation between De Pizan and Wollstonecraft? Some differences?