"Book of the City of Ladies" and "Fun Home"

This lesson plan examines women’s literary authority in Christine de Pizan’s 15th-century treatise and in Alison Bechdel’s 2006 graphic memoir. Part of the Medieval Meets Modern Series.

Video by Moira Fitzgibbons



Selected Editions

Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Mariner Books, 2007.

De Pizan, Christine. Collected Works (“The Book of the Queen”). Circa 1410-1414. Digitised Manuscripts, London, British Library, Harley MS 4431. Accessed 5 December 2020.

—-. The Book of the City of Ladies, rev. ed. Trans. by Earl Jeffrey Richards; foreword by Natalie Zemon Davis. Persea Books, 1998.

—-.The Book of the City of Ladies. Ed. and trans. by Rosalind Brown-Grant. Penguin Classics, 1999.

—-. The Selected Writings of Christine de Pizan. Ed. by Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski; trans. by Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski and Kevin Brownlee. W.W. Norton & Co., 1997.

Context and Analysis

Biggs, Sarah. “Christine de Pizan and the Book of the Queen.” British Library Medieval Manuscripts Blog, 27 June 2013. Accessed 5 December 2020.

Cooper, Charlotte. “A Double Dip Canonisation: The Case of Christine de Pizan.” Women’s Culture and the Literary Canon. 22 March 2016. Accessed 5 December 2020.

Ho, Cynthia. “Communal and Individual Biography in Christine de Pizan’s Book of the City of Ladies.” CEA Critic: An Offical Journal of the College English Association 57.1 (1994): pp. 31-40.

Hudson, Genevieve.“On Finding a Hero in Alison Bechdel: Genevieve Hudson’s Search for Community on the Page.” LitHub, 20 March 2018. Accessed 5 December 2020.

Kilroy-Ewbank, Lauren. “Portraits of Christine de Pizan in The Queen’s Manuscript.” Smarthistory. Accessed 5 December 2020.

Lydenberg, Robin.“Reading Lessons in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.” College Literature 44.2 (2017): pp. 133-165.

Morris, Janine. “Multimodal Literacies and Graphic Memoir: Using Alison Bechdel in the Classroom.” Composition Studies 43.1 (2015): pp. 193-214.

Neilson, E.J, “The Book of the City of Ladies as Reclamatory Fan Work.” Transformative Works and Cultures 25 (2017): n.p.


Moira Fitzgibbons,"Book of the City of Ladies" and "Fun Home," Middle Ages for Educators, December 7, 2020. Accessed[date]. https://middleagesforeducators.princeton.edu/node/1236/