Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mark Twain & Joan of Arc

Mark Twain had a great admiration for Saint Joan of Arc for almost his entire life. As his biographer A.B. Paine explains, Twain’s interest in Joan started one day in Hannibal, Missouri when he was a young man working as a printer’s apprentice:

“He was on his way from the office to his home one afternoon when he saw flying along the pavement a square of paper, a leaf from a book. ... He caught the flying scrap and examined it. It was a leaf from some history of Joan of Arc. The "maid" was described in the cage at Rouen, in the fortress, and the two ruffian English soldiers had stolen her clothes. ... there arose within him a deep compassion for the gentle Maid of Orleans, a burning resentment toward her captors, a powerful and indestructible interest in her sad history. It was an interest that would grow steadily for more than half a lifetime and culminate at last in that crowning work, the Recollections, the loveliest story ever told of that martyred girl”

If you have never read Twain’s great biography Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc then you give it a read. I personally consider it the best fictional account of Joan’s life and you can read the review I wrote about it at: Joan of Arc Book & Movie Reviews

The full book is available online at MaidOfHeaven.com at:

Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc

or go to the
Table of Contents for Joan of Arc by Mark Twain

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