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Joan of Arc by Mark Twain
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Joan of Arc (1896)

by Mark Twain

Other authors: Louis de Conte (Pseudonym)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
Joan of Arc was Mark Twain's favorite historic figure, and it shows here in this historic fiction version of Joan's life. Fawning phrases such as "...she was such a vision of young bloom and beauty and grace..." are consistent throughout this novel. Just too gushing for me, even though the writing basics were solid. ( )
  ValerieAndBooks | Sep 7, 2017 |
This book tells the story of Joan of Arc as narrated by a fellow soldier and life-long friend. You cannot read this book without being moved at how God's grace moves people beyond any common human capacity. In this book we see a human being, a youth who shows forth heroic virtue beyond any imagining. She is always devoted to loving God and faithful to her religion. At the same time she is courageous, being true to herself and her calling while being faithful to her friends and showing kindness toward her enemies. We see her beautiful bright character shine forth even when her earthly King betrays her unto death. The marvel of all this is that she is illiterate - yet always precise in speaking with eloquence to all manner of people - whether noble or simple soldier - all the while being a mere youth, never seeing her 20th birthday. Her ambitions: never selfish - but to restore France's sovereignty to the rightful king and return home to her family, to the the life of a common shepherd. France ultimately regains self-rule after Joan's martyrdom with fire at the stake.
  allenkeith | Jun 11, 2017 |
19th century American American literature biography Catholic classic classics fiction France hardcover historical historical fiction history humor Joan of Arc Kindle literature Mark Twain medieval Middle Ages non-fiction novel read religion saint saints to-read Twain unread war
  Shepherdbooks | Jan 8, 2014 |
This isn't so much a critical review of the life of Joan of Arc as it is an ode of love. It seems clear that Mark Twain and his narrator are both in love with her. However, the constant praise of her makes her into a rather one dimensional marble goddess rather than fleshing out an entirely intriguing human being. It's an interesting approach, in that the book is narrated by a childhood friend who becomes her clerk and is at her side through the efforts to be taken seriously by the French authorities and then the successful battles. He also manages to wangle himself a place as a clerk at her trial and execution. It is told in retrospect, as an old man recounting his experiences some 60 years ago, so there is always a sense that the end is known by both the narrator and the reader. Which is a neat way of getting round the fact that we do know the end - there can be little suspense from that point of view.
It is somewhat long and feels padded by the way he can't praise Joan with one word, he uses half a page. Each and every time at it becomes just a little wearisome. The early years are where she appears to have the most life and sparkle, and seems like a human being.
Some people don;t come out of this very well - the french King she expands so much effort to crown is a weasly little man who doesn't deserve to be favoured by Joan or God. And the bishop (French - which i didn't realise) who stage manages her trial might well sue for defamation at every turn. In that sense it is a bit pantomimic - all black and white, very little in the way of shades of grey. But I suppose that contrast is what makes it dramatic. Stops, abruptly, at her execution. Oddly enough, the English don;t come out of this all badly. they're portrayed as a fairly honourable foe, and while they do execute Joan, they don;t actually try her - that's performed by the French clergy (well at least those under English rule) and they get the bad press they seem to deserve.
As a history, the facts are in the right order and it works. As a piece of biography, I'm not sure you end up learning much more about the person - it's all about the legend. ( )
  Helenliz | Apr 1, 2013 |
This is a unique offering from Mark Twain - it is neither the scathing attack on humanity of his later years, nor the gentle mocking of his earlier career - although a bit of that does creep in - he cannot wholly deny that impulse.

Instead, he shows a picture of chivalry and adventure and some genuine piety and courage - a bit different from Connecticut Yankee or The Prince and the Pauper. He paints Joan of Arc as a reverential hero, pious and fearless and brave, and a martyr.

Best suited for the young who want a peerless adventure story from history, and the very old, who want some last glimpse in the better parts of youth in humanity. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (36 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Twain, Markprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Conte, Louis dePseudonymsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pyle, HowardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0898702682, Paperback)

Very few people know that Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) wrote a major work on Joan of Arc. Still fewer know that he considered it not only his most important but also his best work. He spent twelve years in research and many months in France doing archival work and then made several attempts until he felt he finally had the story he wanted to tell. He reached his conclusion about Joan's unique place in history only after studying in detail accounts written by both sides, the French and the English.

Because of Mark Twain's antipathy to institutional religion, one might expect an anti-Catholic bias toward Joan or at least toward the bishops and theologians who condemned her. Instead one finds a remarkably accurate biography of the life and mission of Joan of Arc told by one of this country's greatest storytellers. The very fact that Mark Twain wrote this book and wrote it the way he did is a powerful testimony to the attractive power of the Catholic Church's saints. This is a book that really will inform and inspire.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:05 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Regarded by many as the most luminous example of Twain's work, this historical novel chronicles the French heroine's life, as purportedly told by her longtime friend ? Sieur Louis de Cont. A panorama of stirring scenes recount Joan's childhood in Domremy, the story of her voices, the fight for Orleans, the splendid march to Rheims, and much more.… (more)

» see all 8 descriptions

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