Pedigree–Furnivall and his contemporaries found no other known candidate for this title than the Tudor English translation (by Brian Anslay) of Christine de Pizan’s “City of Ladies” (originally written in 1405). According to W.C. Hazlitt, there is a printing by Wynken de Worde, but Furnivall mentions little about that edition (no date, either). The copy Furnivall read was a (VERY rare) 1521 printing (“Boke of the Cyte of Ladyes”) by Henry Pepwell.
–Synopsis: The author tells her tale in the first person, how after reading Matheolus’ “Lamentations” (hailed by some as a “classic in Medieval misogyny”), she falls into a morass of self-loathing for her womanhood and her gender. However, she is chivvied out of this state by the appearance and good counsel of three Virtues–Reason, Rectitude and Justice. As they recount an impressively long list of virtuous women from Biblical and Classical history and their deeds, the author and the Virtues also construct, from the ground up, a strong and noble City of Ladies.
–Availability–There are any number of modern translations available either for purchase, or for lending from libraries, of “City of Ladies”. Unfortunately, the only copy of Pepwell’s Tudor version I have found, was reprinted in a 600-page treatise /thesis / dissertation, “Distaves and Dames: Renaissance Treatises for and About Women” (edited by Diane Bornstein) from 1978. An on-demand publisher sells copies through Amazon, asking price $80. I have not been able to find an online version of any type in English.