Joan of Arc and Richard III: Sex, Saints, and Government in the Middle Ages by Charles T. Wood
Medieval historian Charles Wood considers the larger than life figures Joan of Arc and Richard III, whose actions, both real and legendary, helped to shape the political character of their respective countries. Wood explores how France and England, governmentally so similar in the eleventh century, became so dissimilar by the fifteenth, with France's monarchy moving rapidly toward absolutism while England's was becoming more limited and representational. Wood argues that Joan of Arc and Richard III gave final medieval form to these developments, Joan by restoring the sanctity of the French crown through her divine mission, Richard by rendering legitimate the restraining role of Parliament. Focusing on topics often neglected by other historians, Wood includes lively discussions of royal adultery scandals, child-kings and the problems they posed, and earlier peoples and crisis that helped to shape the culture of sex and sainthood that was so profoundly that of the Middle Ages.