Agnes Poirier says, Joan of Arc is “a people’s girl…a feisty little punk who paid for her audacity with her life.”

From The Guardian (by Agnes Poirier)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jan/06/joan-of-arc-600-anniversary?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+theguardian%2Fcommentisfree%2Frss+%28Comment+is+free%29

The extremist-right National Front emerged on the French political scene, highjacking the lovely and audacious girl as their effigy. She suddenly became a political enemy; from hero, she became foe. For my generation, traumatised by the rise of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s party, she suddenly represented chauvinism in its nastiest form. From a freedom fighter, she became a hater of foreigners. She could have no place in our hearts.

We were fools. The left should have fought hard to reclaim Jeanne. She is not, as the extreme right historiography would have us believe, a royalist Catholic die-hard. She is a people’s girl, betrayed by the king and burned by the church. In other words, she’s a feisty little punk who paid for her audacity with her life. Let’s say it loud and clear today, Jeanne is one of us!

  • Giaour94

    The fact that she was betrayed by the king and burned by the Church doesn’t take away from the fact that she was a royalist and a Catholic. Rather than fighting over icons, people should take historical figures by their own terms. She didn’t preside over a popular rising, although she was of the people. She went to the established elite claiming to have been sent from god to aid the king’s cause. The call for national liberation and self-determination was also important, but it was not the driving force. Joan was bold in the face of enemies, oppressors and critics, but I doubt she would especially appreciate the term ‘feisty little punk’. She did what she did not because of attitude or rebellion but because she sincerely believed that God told her to do it.

    • Marcia Quinn Noren

      Thanks very much for posting your comment.

      Agnès C. Poirier, a political commentator for the British, American, Canadian, French and Italian press, and a regular contributor to the BBC, clarified specific reasons for Jeanne d’Arc’s lack of popularity in her own country, in this article. I brought it to the attention of those who are interested in the controversy that continues to surround Joan of Arc’s image; not because I agree with Poirier’s characterization of Joan as a “feisty little punk” but because what Poirier has said in the article is highly relevant to understanding how Joan has been perceived in France, for decades.

      During my three field trips to France, I was shocked to discover how little the French, particularly young women, seem to care about what is true about Joan’s life and what is not, according to the historic records. It did not take long to comprehend that she is perceived only as a political icon, representing the extreme right wing. The ancient symbol of the fleur de lys is also identified with the Royalist movement.

      Joan would not have had the option to be anything but a Roman Catholic and royalist. In early fifteenth century France, the Roman Catholic Church was conjoined with, (inseparable from) the monarchy. The Inquisition was well underway, and although the Reformation had not yet begun, Jan Hus, of Prague (who was convicted of Heresy in July, 1415 and died at the stake, like Joan) had gained a following of supporters who openly questioned the Roman Catholic Church’s mode of operation. The levels of governmental corruption that existed in that era are no longer debated by historians, but accepted as fact, even within the Church itself.

      Monarchs ruled throughout Europe during the Late Middle Ages; there was no option for any citizen to be anything but a royalist. Had Joan not taken extreme action to unite France under Charles VII, the dual crown claimed by young Henry VI of England, who was crowned King of France seven months after Joan’s death at Notre Dame de Paris, would have become enforced and perhaps, the French would be bowing to the Queen of England, today.

      The primary motivation behind the book, “Joan of Arc: The Mystic Legacy” is to accomplish what you’ve suggested; to provide Joan’s own recorded testimony as the primary resource for understanding her life story. Many biographers have painted her as “feisty” and “audacious” due to her straightforward manner; when speaking to the council of Poitiers, in her first meeting with Dunois; and of course, for her self-contained demeanor, standing before the ecclesiastic court, during the Trial of Condemnation. Anyone who studies the trial records cannot help but remain in awe of Joan’s intelligence, complexity, utter devotion to God, and unyielding determination to fulfill her mission.

    • http://www.JoanofArcTheMysticLegacy.com Marcia Quinn Noren

      Thanks very much for posting your comment.

      Agnès C. Poirier, a political commentator for the British, American, Canadian, French and Italian press, and a regular contributor to the BBC, clarified specific reasons for Jeanne d’Arc’s lack of popularity in her own country, in this article. I brought it to the attention of those who are interested in the controversy that continues to surround Joan of Arc’s image; not because I agree with Poirier’s characterization of Joan as a “feisty little punk” but because what Poirier has said in the article is highly relevant to understanding how Joan has been perceived in France, for decades.

      During my three field trips to France, I was shocked to discover how little the French, particularly young women, seem to care about what is true about Joan’s life and what is not, according to the historic records. It did not take long to comprehend that she is perceived only as a political icon, representing the extreme right wing. The ancient symbol of the fleur de lys is also identified with the Royalist movement.

      Joan would not have had the option to be anything but a Roman Catholic and royalist. In early fifteenth century France, the Roman Catholic Church was conjoined with, (inseparable from) the monarchy. The Inquisition was well underway, and although the Reformation had not yet begun, Jan Hus, of Prague (who was convicted of Heresy in July, 1415 and died at the stake, like Joan) had gained a following of supporters who openly questioned the Roman Catholic Church’s mode of operation. The levels of governmental corruption that existed in that era are no longer debated by historians, but accepted as fact, even within the Church itself.

      Monarchs ruled throughout Europe during the Late Middle Ages; there was no option for any citizen to be anything but a royalist. Had Joan not taken extreme action to unite France under Charles VII, the dual crown claimed by young Henry VI of England, who was crowned King of France seven months after Joan’s death at Notre Dame de Paris, would have become enforced and perhaps, the French would be bowing to the Queen of England, today.

      The primary motivation behind the book, “Joan of Arc: The Mystic Legacy” is to accomplish what you’ve suggested; to provide Joan’s own recorded testimony as the primary resource for understanding her life story. Many biographers have painted her as “feisty” and “audacious” due to her straightforward manner; when speaking to the council of Poitiers, in her first meeting with Dunois; and of course, for her self-contained demeanor, standing before the ecclesiastic court, during the Trial of Condemnation. Anyone who studies the trial records cannot help but remain in awe of Joan’s intelligence, complexity, utter devotion to God, and unyielding determination to fulfill her mission.