1.29.2010

Currently Reading: Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc

So the soldier sighed and said he would advertise the mass, but said he doubted if there was a man in camp that was any more likely to go to it than he was himself. Then there was another surprise for him, for Joan said:

"But, dear man, you are going!"

"I? Impossible! Oh, this is lunacy!"

"Oh, no, it isn't. You are going to the service--twice a day."

"Oh, am I dreaming? Am I drunk--or is my hearing playing me false? Why, I would rather go to--"

"Never mind where. In the morning you are going to begin, and after that it will come easy. Now don't look downhearted like that. Soon you won't mind it."

Author: Mark Twain

Synopsis: Louis de Conte, Joan's page and secretary, tells the story of her life from her childhood in Domrémy through her generalship of the army of France to her execution.

Notes: One of my book clubs read this, and I loved it. Twain, whom I hadn't expected to be friendly to Christianity, treated Joan as a person of great piety and Bishop Cauchon, who led her trial, as a selfish sinner too closely in league with the state.
 
The character of Louis de Conte is fictional, though based in part on a real person. The book follows history quite accurately, as far as I could tell, despite the personalized descriptions and conversations that a novel requires. It appears to have been thoroughly researched.
 
According to a quote on Wikipedia, Twain considered Joan of Arc his best work (apparently, critics have never agreed.) I admit to not having read all of his works, but I'm inclined to take his opinion.

3 comments:

  1. I read this for the first time over the summer, and absolutely loved it. For Christmas my brother got me a paperback copy of it that includes a historical essay Twain wrote about Joan. And on Wednesday I went into a used book store and came across a very old edition that has the original illustrations! (but no essay) So now I have two copies. It's an excellent, excellent book, and gets better as you go along.

    And happy birthday!
    -David

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, David! Wow, an essay written by Twain--bet that makes for good reading. I agree with you, this is truly an excellent book.

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