In this thesis I examine the lives and works of two remarkable medieval women poets, Wallada bint al-Mustakfi, an eleventh-century Andalusian poet, and Christine de Pizan, a fourteenth-century French poet. Both Wallada and Christine were raised and lived in courtly quarters which enabled them access to knowledge and learning and accorded them a powerful status. Both women have been able to successfully pursue their intellectual interests and create their own space of literary engagement within the rich conventions of the literary courtly love tradition. I also examine the parallels that existed between the French courtly literature and the Arabic ghazal poetry and how they both represented women as subjects. In this study I do a comparative analysis of the development of the feminine consciousness of both Christine and Wallada and how their experience informed their literary production and enabled them to break the confines of a literary tradition that limited their representation. Furthermore, I look into how both women, who were very different, represented different aspects of feminism and forces us to reexamine our own contemporary understanding of what feminism is.


English & Comparative Literature Department

Degree Name

MA in English & Comparative Literature

Graduation Date


Submission Date

March 2015

First Advisor

Ghazoul, Ferial

Committee Member 1

Shoukri, Doris

Committee Member 2

Gómez-Rivas, Camilo


89 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

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