In 1402, Christine de Pizan, one of the first and most illustrious women of letters in the French tradition, was gradually establishing a reputation as a serious writer. Her talents up to that point had been devoted predominantly to the composition of conventional courtly lyric for the enjoyment of her royal and noble patrons, who were already sufficiently impressed by her poetic skills to acquire and exchange manuscripts of her work. On 1 February of that year, Christine put the finishing touches on a small collection of documents which she addressed to Isabeau de Bavière, Queen of France, and Guillaume de Tignonville, Provost of Paris, for their scrutiny and, it was hoped, favourable judgment. This dossier, labelled as the 'Epistles of the Debate over the Romance of the Rose between certain persons of note', represented a brief exchange of letters that, the previous year, had grown out of a discussion between Christine and Jean de Montreuil, Provost of Lille, concerning the dubious merits of the famous allegorical poem.
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