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Late night historical lady talks

Maybe it's 1 AM, and maybe I drank some Coke at midnight, and maybe I need to talk about Medieval Women by Eileen Power for a sec.

And also Christine de Pizan — WHAT? What? Christine de Pizan, who even are you? You're writing in like 1405 and you're attacking misogynists and defending women as intelligent beings who are just as human as men? WHAT? In 1405?? HOW. I feel like I missed something, OR the 1400s weren't as shitty as I thought, OR Christine de Pizan is basically the greatest human being ever.

She wrote Book of the City of Ladies, which is basically like "Oh, women are evil? Here's a list of A MILLION AWESOME WOMEN WHO WERE NOT." And then men were like

...I assume.

But EILEEN POWER even. I've had this book Medieval Women kicking around since I was in high school. I remember bringing it on my high school's spiritual emphasis retreat and while trying to read it, arguing with my History teacher (whom I obviously sat near on the bus) and then ended up calling him a papist, because that's my favorite insult other than communist and ANYWAY, said papist argument meant I never actually read much of this 1975 book by this Eileen Power woman.

WHO, it turns out, died in 1940. But an enterprising gentleman assembled some of her lectures on medieval ladies and put them in a book to be sold for ₤1.95 in nerdy bookstores everywhere. 

So Eileen Power was born in 1889, which ASTONISHES me, mainly because I'm usually astonished when women write awesomely before 1960, despite all the evidence like Wharton, Eliot, Sayers, the aforementioned Pizan, etc etc.

Eileen Power looking smart

I'm still on her first lecture (vaguely titled "Medieval ideas about women"), and she points out — EXCELLENTLY, I might add — that:

In the early Middle Ages what passed for contemporary opinion came from two sources — the Church and the aristocracy. In other words, the ideas about women were formed on the one hand by the clerkly order, usually celibate, and on the other hand by a narrow caste, who could afford to regard women as an ornamental asset


Let us all be aware these two ladies existed and were awesome.


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