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Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

4.4 30
by Mark Twain, Jean Francois Alden (Translator)

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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


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.

Product Details

Ignatius Press
Publication date:
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5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Twain is the author of many great American classics including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Pudd'nhead Wilson.in 1867, Twain set sail for five months. This trip resulted in The Innocents Abroad.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
November 30, 1835
Date of Death:
April 21, 1910
Place of Birth:
Florida, Missouri
Place of Death:
Redding, Connecticut

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Joan of Arc (Barnes and Noble Digital Library) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I never understood Joan untill I read this book. Mark Twain tells the story of Joan of Arc with grace, beauty, grounded characters, and such a passion that stirs the heart of humanity. We have always expected humorous tales from Twain, but never imagined what would emerge when he would attemt to write a dramatic story on Joan of Arc. It took him fifteen years to complete and said it was one of his favorite books he had writen. I would consider this book to take readers to the roots of human behavior-to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred. And today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.
Noah_Sanders More than 1 year ago
The book reads as a personal account of Joan of Arc by her trusted friend, Sieur Louis de Conte. He starts in describing in vivid account growing up with her in the small French town of Domremy and how Joan of Arc began her epic across France. The time period takes place during a terrible time of France, in the 1420s during the 100 years' war versus England, who had been winning for the past 50 years, but as this epic shows, Joan rose as the savior of France and fought them back decisively, historically at the cost of her life. Twain, with a strong sense of history, goes into depth on every character and weaves them deeply into the tale. For example, childhood friends like Noel and the Paladin are vibrant throughout the book and provide much comic relief, but Twain is also very particular with Joan especially, developing her character throughout the war she waged and the politics she became a part of all the way up to her brutal trial, which froze her in time as a monumental, stoic figure of God throughout history. Sometimes, though Twain does seem to drag the stories within it in dramatic fashion, but I still enjoyed it immensely. Its also fascinating to account the fact that Twain devoted about a decade of his life in obsession over Joan, and how he regarded this as his most important work. I have read his epics of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, and I would have to say I agree in total. This book does much to reflect Twains true character, and the reverence he held to people like Joan. This book is for someone who loves history, but above all loves a great story, specifically of a woman of God who changed the course of history.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'This is to be a serious book. It means more to me than anything I have ever undertaken.' These words were spoken by none other than the illustrious American author and humorist Mark Twain himself in reference to his masterpiece 'The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc.' Joan intrigued Twain; she was his idol, and he always knew he would write about her. He spent twelve years researching her tale and several months in France in order to produce a book as accurate as possible. Twain's labors eventually paid off with his product--an astounding account of Joan's life and death. Set during the Hundred Years' War, the book incorporats vivid details that result in a brilliant portrayal of the miraculous life and tragic death of Saint Joan of Arc. Mark Twain recounts this timeless story of courage, faith, and trust better than any I have ever read. The tale captured my interest immediately, and I found that Twain made wonderful use of foreshadowing--right away I sensed Joan would do something amazing! Twain's portrayal of Joan herself intrigued me. Her perfectly developed character included so much irony: the sight of blood horrored her but she went on to face many a battle; she could neither read nor write but defended herself against the most illustrious scholars at the Great Trials; she had the most devout faith in the Lord but burned at the stake as a heretic. In short, she amazes me, and truly deserves to be honored with Twain's remarkable tribute to her life and mission. I recommend her story to anyone with an appreciation for liberty, courage, and history. Twain himself summed up my opinion best when he wrote in 1908: 'I like 'Joan of Arc' best of all my books and it is the best; I know it perfectly well. And besides, it furnished me seven times the pleasure afforded me by any of the others; 12 years of preparation and 2 years of writing. The others needed no preparation, and got none.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mark Twain wrote this book in a way that it was enjoyable and easy to read. Having recently made a trip to Domremy, France (Joan of Arc's birthplace), I can say that it is clear that Mark Twain did his homework. He described the valley in which Domremy sits almost perfectly. I had never read anything on Joan of Arc before and he made me want to learn more. I appreciated the fact that he gave time and attention to her outstanding character in the book. The extra stories made her come to life for the reader.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mark Twain put years worth of research into this book, and it shows. It is very well written--worth reading just for the talented job the author did. Mark Twain really makes you feel like you're right there with Joan of Arc and her companions. I cried a little at the end because I felt like I'd actually gotten to know Joan of Arc.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book is fantastic. I highly recommend it to teenagers, especially young girls. It is a hard book to put down. Twain wrote it so well that it is easy to slip into the story and picture events as they took place. After reading other historical books on Joan of Arc, it is clear that Mark Twain considered detail and fact very important in writing this book.
miss_dobie More than 1 year ago
An absolute "must read."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the few books that I re-read just about once a year. It gets better and better with each reading. I was so surprised when I first discovered this book while browsing in the library.

I never thought of Mark Twain as a spiritual or religious person, but that side of him really comes out in Joan of Arc. I particularly like the way he weaves the theme of the faery tree into the story. The symbol of the Tree has a profound mystical significance that Mark Twain really captures here.

Joan comes alive in his hands. I much prefer his perspective on Joan than the more modern, psychological analysis.

I am constantly buying new copies of this book to re-read or give away to a friend or youngster at church. If you only read one book by Mark Twain, this should surely be the one.

I am forever telling people about it, and have yet to find someone who even knows about this book. I wish that this were an Oprah or B&N classic so that more people would be exposed to this amazing story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book about Joan of Arc that I've ever read; it is accurate to the last detail and a great read. Mark Twain wrote 'Joan of Arc' with so much passion; that passion comes out in the book wonderfully. Unlike other biographies of Joan of Arc that I've read, this one made me laugh and it most definately made me cry! Please read this book; it's worth it!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mark Twain did a superb job. This was the first of several Joan bios I've read and it got me hooked. Joan was one of the greatest geniuses of all time. Listen to Winston Churchill: 'Joan is a being so uplifted from the ordinary run of mankind, that she finds no equal in a thousand years.' Let's make that ten thousand years! The definitive biography of Joan has not yet been written in English. No one book could say everything that can be said about this simple, complex, humble, heroic, completely integrated human being, and Twain didn't try. He dropped many historical details to concentrate on the human Joan, so often missing from historians's accounts. From sworn testimonies of people who had known her from childhood, Joan scholars find a typical teenaged girl, when she wasn't busy doing the impossible. Twain gets this across by means of the fictional characters he had surround her. The personality of Joan deserves deep study, for the rewards are great. Twain's book serves as the introductory course. After that, read Regine Pernoud's, 'Joan of Arc by Herself and Her Witnesses' for more complete historical details. But if all you know about Joan is what you saw in that monstrosity of a movie, 'The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc', about which a prominent Los Angeles film critic said, 'I have never used the word vulgar to describe a movie until now', then please begin reading Twain's book today. You'll never find a greater story, in books, or the movies. Norman Boutin, 54-year old Joan of Arc fanatic
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This has been one of my favorite books for a long time. The important historical facts are apparently accurate because of the legal records kept, which is not expected of a story that most would consider to be only legend. Also shows a beautiful faith, even at this distance in time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic book, I highly recommend it. However, this version has many typographical errors.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been fascinated by Joan of Arc for years and have studied everything I could about her, and this is very accurate without being boring or humdrum. Mark Twain makes the reader feel as if he is really there. Reading this book will only deepen your respect and awe of this wonderful saint!
NataliaAbramova More than 1 year ago
Beautiful story beautifully written One of those books you won't forget. Very different style for Mark Twain, you wouldn't even know it was he who wrote it!
floridabeachrunner More than 1 year ago
This is a fascinating story and Mark Twain did a great job telling it! It took me a chapter or two to get used to this style of writing, but once I did, it was clear sailing, as I sped toward the sad ending. I would recommend this book to everyone.
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