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Keywords: Christine de Pizan, Cent Balades, mythological ballades, allegorical comments on Metamorphoses, Ovide moralis, Pierre Bersuire, Boccaccio’s De genealogia deorum gentilium.
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Evdokimova L.V. Reexamining Two Mythological Ballads from Christine de Pizan’s Cent Balades. Studia Litterarum, 2018, vol. 3, no 1, pp. 68–87. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2018-3-1-68-87

Author: Liudmila V. Evdokimova
Information about the author:

Liudmila V. Evdokimova, DSc in Philology, Leading Research Fellow, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia; Professor, Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox University, Moscow, Russia, Novokuznetskaya, 23 b, 115184 Moscow, Russia.

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Received: September 17, 2017
Published: March 25, 2018
Issue: 2018 Vol. 3, №1
Department: World Literature
Pages: 68-87
DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2018-3-1-68-87
UDK: 821.133.1.0
BBK: 83.3(4Фра)4


The article analyzes two mythological ballads from Christine de Pizan’s early collection Cent Balades (1399–1411). I propose to interpret them against allegorical commentary on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a poem Ovide moralise and two treatises — Pierre Bersuire’s Ovididius moralizatus and Boccaccio’s De genealogia deorum gentilium. These works help us understand the ballad XC that critics have traditionally considered mysterious. The ballad tells the story of Adonis and his early death. Christine was familiar with the commentary on Metamorphoses that rendered the poem allegorically. The ballad can be therefore read as a story of the struggle for the human soul where Adonis emblematizes youth, Vulcan — desire, Pallas — wisdom, Juno — will, Jupiter — Supreme Reason, and Mercury — eloquence. Adonis must overcome corporeal passion voluntarily — this is the moral lesson that Christine gives in the allegorical form to her reader. Her relation of human will to reason is similar to that of Thomas Aquinas. The poem Ovide moralisé and Bersuire’s Ovididius moralizatus shed light on the allegorical subtext of the ballad LXI that narrates the love story of Io and Jupiter. Io epitomizes a sinful human soul temporarily deprived of humanity that, however, returns to the beloved — Jupiter, or God. The analysed poems demonstrate Christine’s taste for allegorical and obscure poetry that Boccaccio defended in his De genealogia deorum gentilium.


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