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Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc - Volume 2

Mark Twain

Book Overview: 

Mark Twain’s work on Joan of Arc is titled in full “Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, by the Sieur Louis de Conte.” De Conte is identified as Joan’s page and secretary. For those who’ve always wanted to “get behind” the Joan of Arc story and to better understand just what happened, Twain’s narrative makes the story personal and very accessible.

The work is fictionally presented as a translation from the manuscript by Jean Francois Alden, or, in the words of the published book, “Freely Translated out of the Ancient French into Modern English from the Original Unpublished Manuscript in the National Archives of France.”

De Conte is a fictionalized version of Joan of Arc’s page Louis de Contes, and provides narrative unity to the story. He is presented as an individual who was with Joan during the three major phases of her life – as a youth in Domremy, as the commander of Charles’ army on military campaign, and as a defendant at the trial in Rouen. The book is presented as a translation by Alden of de Conte’s memoirs, written in his later years for the benefit of his descendants.

Twain based his descriptions of Joan of Arc on his daughter, Susy Clemens, as he remembered her at the age of seventeen.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Zebra inn, and that there they remained. Finer quarters were offered them by the Bailly, also public distinctions and brave entertainment; but they were frightened at these projects, they being only humble and ignorant peasants; so they begged off, and had peace. They could not have enjoyed such things. Poor souls, they did not even know what to do with their hands, and it took all their attention to keep from treading on them. The Bailly did the best he could in the circumstances. He made the innkeeper place a whole floor at their disposal, and told him to provide everything they might desire, and charge all to the city. Also the Bailly gave them a horse apiece and furnishings; which so overwhelmed them with pride and delight and astonishment that they couldn't speak a word; for in their lives they had never dreamed of wealth like this, and could not believe, at first, that the horses were real and would not dissolve to a mist and blow away. They could not unglue their m. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Wow. I positively love this book. wow is the only the that can describe it. The last part gave me goosebumps and made me cry.
"RESPONSIO MORTIFERA."

What better inspiration for a great storyteller than the most beautiful, modest and controversial French girl general Joan of Arc. Mark Twain’s Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc is a fascinating story of love, faith and innocence. His own love of history adds not only color but humor in a sto...more

The story of Joan of Arc is a great story. Mark Twain's writing however get's a little tedious. It seems that we cover the same material about Joan being innocent, beautiful, forgiving...etc. over and over and over in every chapter again and again. If Twain hadn't belabored the point so badly, I...more

First of all, I previously had no idea that Mark Twain had penned a book about Joan of Arc. Secondly, I found the story and details about the ascendance of such a magnificent woman to the point of preservation of her country quite remarkable. I am still working to sort out the author's embellishm...more

Joan of Arc is one of the most incredible historical figures ever. I loved this book. Mark Twain paints a beautiful picture of her character and life. Mark Twain considers it his best work and I agree.

I had to read this after finishing volume 1. Almost cried when they burned her at the stake. Amazing work. I read that Mark Twain considered it his finest work. I can get behind that.