Posts tagged “nonfiction biography

July 17, 1429 The Coronation of Charles VII in the Cathedral of Reims


The Riddle of Mark Twain’s Passion for Joan of Arc

http://www.theawl.com/2012/04/the-riddle-of-mark-twains-passion-for-joan-of-arc

Mark Twain’s obsession with Joan of Arc has to rank among the most baffling and least talked about enigmas in American literature. Even for those entrenched within the competitive world of Twain scholarship, stories like the one above are usually treated as interesting, but ultimately trifling, anecdotes, illustrative of the eccentricities of a predictably unconventional man.

 

The same might also be said of his book about the French heroine. Published in 1896, when its author was 61,Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc has long been viewed as something of an aberration, a curio—the type of genre-bending work that a bored, established writer often undertakes in order to buck audience expectations. Narrated by a fictionalized version of Joan’s servant and scribe, Sieur Louis de Conte, the book spans the majority of Joan’s life, beginning with her childhood in eastern France and ending with her questionable trial and execution. While other Twain novels such as A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and The Prince and the Pauper are also set in medieval Europe, far from the author’s more familiar milieu of mid-19th century Missouri, Recollections is unique in its somber tone.

 


On March 6, 1429 Joan of Arc was received at Chinon Castle by Charles, the dauphin

Ch 6 Image 20 Chinon

Charles, a weak-willed, mistrustful, uncertain personality, had been discouraged from granting Joan an audience by his advisors. Perhaps due to their influence, he attempted to test her perceptive powers by choosing an imposter to sit on his throne. Entering the torch-lit “great hall” crowded with knights, noblemen, members of the clergy and ladies of the court, Joan, a country girl of seventeen was expected to lose her composure.

To the amazement of all who witnessed this event, she calmly searched for Charles who stood amidst the onlookers. Moving toward him, she knelt at his feet before addressing him. At first he denied being the dauphin, and pointed toward the man seated on the throne. Joan said to him,

By God gentle prince, it is you and none other. God give you life, gentle king. I bring you news from God, that our Lord will give you back your kingdom, bringing you to be crowned at Reims, and driving out your enemies. In this I am God’s messenger. Do you set me bravely to work, and I will raise the siege of Orleans. (Jeanne d’Arc)

Prior to her arrival, Robert de Boudricourt had sent a letter to Charles from Vaucouleurs that served as an endorsement of Joan. Her ability to recognize him as the dauphin provided Charles with yet another reason to grant her the benefit a private audience. As the crowd watched, they withdrew together, into a private chamber.

What took place during their time alone on this night of their first meeting would never become clearly known, but has been the source of great speculation and conjecture by historians who continue to develop and present their own theories. What is certain, according to witnesses, is that Charles appeared to be radiant when he emerged from that room. His demeanor had dramatically changed from doubt, to glowing certainty.



[i] Ibid. p.21


Domremy; Where it all began…(2012 cultural events celebrating Joan of Arc, in France)

http://www.culturevosges.fr/600ans/en/index.asp

“This year it is six hundred years since a young peasant girl, the last or second last child in a family of 5, was born in the little village of Domremy, in the Champagne area and duchy of Lorraine. From this tiny, anodyne and banal event, unnoticed by many history sources, was born one of the biggest and more fascinating sagas of the French Middle Ages, if not the history of all of France.”

 


New Stamp honoring Joan of Arc to be issued in France

http://www.dici.org/en/news/france-a-stamp-will-be-issued-in-honor-of-joan-of-arc/


Who “owns” Joan of Arc? (The Perpetual Question)

From this article: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2012/0123/French-politicians-argue-over-who-owns-Joan-of-Arc

“Starting as a nobody, she broke nearly every 15th-century gender barrier. In 2012 she’s a Christian heroine in a secular state: For the right, a holy warrior of the sacred soil; on the left, a brave iconoclast fighting corrupt elites.” And….check the article to see what you know about the geography of France.


Orléans celebrates Joan of Arc’s birth on January 6, 2012 (Youtube video clip)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmrLmyzH5G8

 


Joan of Arc celebration in Orleans France (excellent slideshow)

On January 6, the 600th anniversary of Joan of Arc’s birth, Medievalists assembled as Joan received her sword.

http://www.orleans.fr/fetes-de-jeanne-darc-2012/remise-de-lepee.html


“Ottowa Citizen” Article; (the best so far) on Joan’s image in the center of French political turmoil

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/French+leaders+evoke+Joan/5998136/story.html

The best article thus far, on Joan’s image in center of today’s political turmoil. There is but one false note that needs correction (for the historic record.) Joan’s father, Jacques, was not a landowner but held a modest position of authority in the peasant community of Domremy.