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Picturing a World

Writing in bed

Christine de Pizan at work
I have recently run across this image of Christine de Pizan writing in bed at two or three websites, but never with any manuscript attribution. Doesn’t matter. What interests me most is its hint that one of the earliest professional women writers we know of may have written while still in bed. Edith Wharton did. Other women have. I did for a long time. One explanation is that as soon as a woman gets out of bed, other people begin making demands on her time. It certainly is true that most of us need protected time and space in order to sink totally into the work of getting imaginary worlds onto paper. I’m now lucky enough to have a writing room—but I still usually put off getting dressed until after my first session in the morning.

What about those of you who engage in an art? What are your necessary conditions to practice what you do?

For an article with many images of Christine de Pizan writing at a desk, click here.

For 15th C images of miniatures from her Book of the Queen, click here.
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