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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in the words of the published book, “Freely Translated out of the Ancient French into Modern English from the Original Unpublished Manuscript in the National Archives of France.”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

The second part of this book is really good. Surprisingly, it is very historically accurate too. Kudos to Twain for doing very thorough research into this amazing character and staying true to her.

I love all things Mark Twain, but this book took me by surprise. At first, I didn't know what to do with it. I had to read it twice, but I'm now convinced this is Clemens' masterpiece. (Don't go into it expecting Tom and Huck.)

Twain's style is just not for me. It's so heavy on battle stuff and the men's side of things, as opposed to telling me things about Joan.

I was really moved by this account of the magnificent but short life of Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans.

Although written as a work of fiction, the story is yet historically accurate. Authored by one of the greats of American literature, Mark Twain spent ten years researching and two years writing t

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 story

Sometimes the writing gets tedious. There is too much emphasis on her innocence and beauty. Otherwise, it's a good read.

Incredibly compelling, even though the battles are over and we’re on to the trial. I don’t know what sources Twain used, but you’d think he was there. Less humor in this half for obvious reasons. More great reasons to love the Catholic Church!

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