Joan of Arc
Joan has a unique role in Western imagination--she is one of the few true female heroes. Marina Warner uses her superb historical and literary skills to move beyond conventional biography and to capture the essence of Joan of Arc, both as she lived in her own time and as she has "grown" in the human imagination over the five centuries since her death. She has examined the court documents from Joan of Arc's 1431 Inquisition trial for heresy and woven the facts together with an analysis of the histories, biographies, plays, and paintings and sculptures that have appeared over time to honor this heroine and symbol of France's nationhood. Warner shows how the few facts that are known about the woman Joan have been shaped to suit the aims of those who have chosen her as their hero. The book places Joan in the context of the mythology of the female hero and takes note of her historical antecedents, both pagan and Christian and the role she has played up to the present as the embodiment of an ideal, whether as Amazon, saint, child of nature, or personification of virtue.

Joan of Arc Details

TitleJoan of Arc
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 24th, 1999
PublisherUniversity of California Press
ISBN-139780520224643
Rating
GenreHistory, Biography, Nonfiction, Cultural, France, Reference, Research, Religion, Historical, Medieval

Joan of Arc Review

  • digital
    January 1, 1970
    As a biography of Joan by way of cataloguing her diverse iconography, this book has a curious goal: to undermine each and every icon by presenting Joan as above and beyond what anyone could expect of her. That is, Joan’s genius is that as much as her legacy owes to each icon, no icon can really contain her at all. The Hall of IconsThe book is basically organized by archetypal pattern. Warner goes into meticulations about each: the chapters on the Maid of France, the Heretic, the Amazon, the Inno As a biography of Joan by way of cataloguing her diverse iconography, this book has a curious goal: to undermine each and every icon by presenting Joan as above and beyond what anyone could expect of her. That is, Joan’s genius is that as much as her legacy owes to each icon, no icon can really contain her at all. The Hall of IconsThe book is basically organized by archetypal pattern. Warner goes into meticulations about each: the chapters on the Maid of France, the Heretic, the Amazon, the Innocent, etc. are full of enormous detail on historical context, and give us a centuries-long tour of the roles Joan played in her time (the first half of the book) and afterward (the second half). For all her ascent lasted a bit over a year, and for how quickly she began to lose her battles afterward, she’s been interpreted and re-interpreted ever since she crowned the Dauphin. It’s crazy stuff. The scope is exhausting – but in a way that justifies its demand on your time. I learned an enormous amount, not only about Joan herself but about the many time periods in which her confusing, compelling story was a beacon of some timely idea. The Biography of IdeasSo in short, this is simply not a straightforward telling of Joan’s story, and as such, I’ll suggest you can get the most out of this book by reading one before you dig in. I recommend Mary Gordon’s book, which much shorter and breezier than this one. As a book organized by each of the archetypes Warner examines – and as a book which doesn’t skimp on digression or elaborate language – it demands a great deal of you. It took me a long time to read, and I will have to read it again.Joan HerselfI’ve read Joan’s trial transcripts, as well as other books that are more directly about her rise and fall, but through this careful method of presenting-yet-undermining, I think Warner has succeeded in capturing Joan, because it is so clear that even a pantheon of icons to represent her do not suffice. She was simply too very much herself.
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  • Chris
    January 1, 1970
    A bit draw, but good in depth of Joan. Should be read with Monuments and Maidens: The Allegory of the Female Form.
  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    A scholarly look at Joan of Arc in a feminist perspective. Very interesting if that sounds like something you would like, but probably too "dry" for many readers.
  • Sophy H
    January 1, 1970
    Well I'll give this to Marina Warner, she's thorough!! That would be my overwhelming description of this text, thorough! I'm fascinated by Joan of Arc as an historical character of conviction and certitude. She lived and died by her beliefs, whether or not they were right or true. This book, I agree with others is a bit dry and overloaded with facts, but it literally rips apart and re-fashions the concept of Joan (La Pucelle), in all her glory and viscittude. A fascinating read for anyone intere Well I'll give this to Marina Warner, she's thorough!! That would be my overwhelming description of this text, thorough! I'm fascinated by Joan of Arc as an historical character of conviction and certitude. She lived and died by her beliefs, whether or not they were right or true. This book, I agree with others is a bit dry and overloaded with facts, but it literally rips apart and re-fashions the concept of Joan (La Pucelle), in all her glory and viscittude. A fascinating read for anyone interested in this canny, indomitable woman.
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  • Alatheia Nielsen
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to love this book, but after pushing myself grudgingly through more than half, I had to put it down. It’s overflowing with fascinating information. But unfortunately it reads more like a textbook. Were I more intimately acquainted with 15th century French and English history perhaps it wouldn’t have been so difficult. But as it was, there was so much name dropping of people I didn’t know, it took away from my ability to absorb the information rather than enhancing it.
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  • Tepintzin
    January 1, 1970
    If you don't already know a fair bit about Joan of Arc, do NOT start here. This is an examination of the images by which people made sense of Joan (amazon, personification of virtue, Wholesome Peasant) and the causes for which she has been made a symbol and why. I made heavy use of Marina Warner's Alone of All Her Sex in my master's thesis, and reading this book was like meeting up with an old friend for coffee and seeing what she has been up to.
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  • Nicholas Whyte
    January 1, 1970
    http://nhw.livejournal.com/788752.html[return][return]I'm not really a Francophile, but I am a lapsed medievalist, and Marina Warner's meticulous sifting of fact from fiction in the first two-thirds of the book dealing with the actual career of Joan of Arc (not, as she points out, a name ever used by La Pucelle herself) is a beautiful example of how you should take your one major primary source (the transcript of Joan's trial) and test it against all the other available contextual evidence.[retu http://nhw.livejournal.com/788752.html[return][return]I'm not really a Francophile, but I am a lapsed medievalist, and Marina Warner's meticulous sifting of fact from fiction in the first two-thirds of the book dealing with the actual career of Joan of Arc (not, as she points out, a name ever used by La Pucelle herself) is a beautiful example of how you should take your one major primary source (the transcript of Joan's trial) and test it against all the other available contextual evidence.[return][return]Two points in particular stood out for me. First, Joan's entire career was very short - from March 1429 to her execution in May 1431 - and of course the last year of Joan's short life was spent in captivity. Second, something very special obviously did take place when she first encountered the Dauphin, the future Charles VII, at Chinon in March 1429: she was unable to describe the experience clearly, and nobody else seems to have left a record, but the consequences are quite clear - some kind of mystical event was experienced by both her and Charles, and by enough of his courtiers to establish the legend, but we will never know exactly what they thought had happened.[return][return]Warner explores Joan's significance as a woman, a hero, a warrior, a prophet, digging deep into late medieval ideas of religion, leadership and gender. In the last third of the book she goes on to look at Joan's influence after her death, on literature, French politics, the church's claims to authority, and concepts of sexuality in Western civilisation. It feels comprehensive, and I found it fascinating.
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  • Jason Honeycutt
    January 1, 1970
    Masterfully written decades ago with deep and insightful research, this book reads like it was written in the last six months. It serves not only to enlighten us about Joan and answer many oft asked but not answered questions, but also shed light on the culture, politics, and history prior to, during, and post that make her legend so enduring. All the while reminding us that the lessons of the past are completely and dangerously relevant.
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  • Tris
    January 1, 1970
    This was an interesting and insightful read on Joan of Arc's life, especially as it highlights some of the moral, political and religious influences of her time, both from before she was born and after she died. I would recommend it to those that are interested in Joan or Arc or indeed in this period of history although it does tend to focus, too much so at times, especially towards the end on the feminist aspects of her life and period.
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  • Irene
    January 1, 1970
    Fantastic!
  • Redpoet
    January 1, 1970
    Did not come anywhere meeting my expectations. All the reviews which I read were misleading,. There were some interesting tidbits and ideas.
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