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30 review for Personal Recollections of Joan Of Arc

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kerstin

    I really enjoyed this book. At first I was a little reserved, for I didn't know how Mark Twain, an American Protestant, would treat a very Catholic subject, that of a very beloved saint, and her world of the early fifteenth century and the Hundred Years War during which these events took place. Twain managed to surprise me at every turn. He didn't interject his own version of Joan of Arc, but stayed true to what we know of her. He charms us with his descriptions of Joan as a simple and beguiling I really enjoyed this book. At first I was a little reserved, for I didn't know how Mark Twain, an American Protestant, would treat a very Catholic subject, that of a very beloved saint, and her world of the early fifteenth century and the Hundred Years War during which these events took place. Twain managed to surprise me at every turn. He didn't interject his own version of Joan of Arc, but stayed true to what we know of her. He charms us with his descriptions of Joan as a simple and beguiling country girl and flawlessly seams it with the decisive military general she became. Her indomitable spirit and deep piety that inspired her contemporaries and never was forgotten also touches the reader and we too become enthralled with her. Then of course, comes the farce of her trial for heresy. Out of pure political ambitions, the Cardinal of Winchester, Pierre Cauchon, who had been appointed by the English, sought to remove her. He set up a trial, even though under ecclesiastical law he had no jurisdiction, nor were the proper procedures followed. The flimsy "evidence" they used would have never held up under normal circumstances. Twain masterfully draws out the evil of the court and contrasts it with Joan's innocence and her astuteness in countering their charges. It is not surprising therefore, that only 25 years after her death there was a retrial and she was exonerated, and Pierre Cauchon was posthumously excommunicated. Joan of Arc is one of those figures in history who through her innocence and purity has a very keen sense of justice, of right and wrong. Precisely because she was but a child on the cusp of womanhood, she posed a mighty threat to the powerful, for next to her their wrongs were blatantly exposed.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Irene

    I did not realize that Twain dabbled in hagiography at the end of his life. Apparently closely adhering to the historical record, this is an account of Joan’s life narrated by a fictional childhood companion. The tone was adoring. I think I like Twain as a humorist better. But I did enjoy learning more about Joan of Arc.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dylan Toropov

    Twain's prose is well-written and often very enjoyable, however the book is held back by a few significant problems. Joan of Arc is praised as perfect repeatedly and as a result there is no clear protagonist with an arc for a reader to identify with. We always see her through rose tinted glasses. As for our narrator, we never really get to know him, besides the fact that he's got some self-confidence problems. For the most part he's a vessel for retelling Joan's story. Joan's story is a compelli Twain's prose is well-written and often very enjoyable, however the book is held back by a few significant problems. Joan of Arc is praised as perfect repeatedly and as a result there is no clear protagonist with an arc for a reader to identify with. We always see her through rose tinted glasses. As for our narrator, we never really get to know him, besides the fact that he's got some self-confidence problems. For the most part he's a vessel for retelling Joan's story. Joan's story is a compelling one, for sure, but I got the sense that Twain was intimidated by the scope of Joan's accomplishments and made the narrator a bit shallow as a coping mechanism. The comic characters (The Paladin, Noel Ragmussen, the Dwarf) and their brief comedic scenes are the book's strongest points and their appearances are when Twain's genius were definitely most apparent to me. Twain claimed at the end of his life that this was his best book but I get the sense after reading it that this is wishful thinking on his part. It *could* have been his best book, it maybe even should have been. There are some great moments, but rather than hit a home run with this one he used a lot of short cuts and descriptive repetition. It was a fun, informative read, but not the career-capping masterpiece I think Twain wished it was.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Lewis

    I've read this book three times and love it more and more each time through.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Dobronyi

    Good read and a little different. Samuel Clemens truly respected the Maid of Orleans.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Maurice Williams

    I came across this interesting adaptation of Mark Twain’s “Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc” surfing The Internet. It is an illustrated and abbreviated, adaptation of Twain’s book, printed in India and meant for young readers. The art is outstanding. The story line follows Mark Twain’s original work far better than the DVD movies available today. It’s only sixty-eight pages, so it is a fast read. Unlike the popular movies about Joan of Arc, this book mentions almost all of Joan’s military ba I came across this interesting adaptation of Mark Twain’s “Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc” surfing The Internet. It is an illustrated and abbreviated, adaptation of Twain’s book, printed in India and meant for young readers. The art is outstanding. The story line follows Mark Twain’s original work far better than the DVD movies available today. It’s only sixty-eight pages, so it is a fast read. Unlike the popular movies about Joan of Arc, this book mentions almost all of Joan’s military battles, especially the important battles of The Augustine Bastilles of Orleans, Meung, and Patay. A problem with the movies is that the movies condense her many military campaigns into basically two or three battles combining elements of all the battles. Another flaw is that three of the four movies available from Amazon seriously distort Joan’s personal life and show her disrespectful, even arrogant, toward people to whom the real Joan would have felt obliged to show respect. The only movie that showed Joan’s character pretty much as the historical record shows it is Victor Fleming’s “Joan of Arc.” To its credit, this Campfire Classic book does not exhibit either one of these two departures from Twain’s story. The only flaw I saw in this book is the way the adaptor handled Twain’s description of the fairies. Twain, I would think, brought up the subject of fairies because his research made him realize that fairies were a major issue in Joan’s trial for witchcraft and heresy. Joan’s enemies wanted her condemned and put to death for these charges. In the trial that led to her execution, her enemies tried to prove that her childhood association with other children, when they played and sang by the fairy tree and hung blossoms on it, showed that Joan attributed powers to the fairies that only God possesses. Twain, I think, tried to show her innocence as a child, but he was very clear in adhering to the court records where Joan said she knew that attributing supernatural powers to the fairies would have offended God. So try as they may, and they tried several times during the trial, her enemies could not prove witchcraft against Joan because of the fairies. The Campfire Graphic adaptation, however, did add some speculation to the fairies, enough speculation to have seriously compromised her trial if the speculations were true. I noticed surfing The Internet that some people object to Twain’s book because of alleged emphasis on fairies. I can see that adaptations of Twain’s work, if they are not done accurately, could serve to amplify this misconception. Other than that, the story line in this Campfire Classic follows very closely Twain’s original book, and his book, as it turns out, follows very closely the career and court records of Joan’s life, especially records of the much more thorough and unprejudiced rehabilitation trial that was held some twenty years after Joan’s death. This short illustrated book can serve to introduce readers, especially young readers, to the career of this important Christian soldier and, perhaps, inspire the reader to try to understand why this child was given such an important mission and why, after she accomplished her mission, she was allowed to endure such a cruel death at the hands of her enemies. Mark Twain did introduce some fictional characters and situations into his book, but he remained remarkably true to the facts concerning Joan. This handsome book, containing stunning illustrations makes a good read and could serve as a good starting point to stimulate interest into the life and extraordinary military career of Joan of Arc, heroine of France.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Raborg

    After reading this book, I'm completely of Twain's own opinion that it's worth the value of all the rest of what he wrote. His prose is excellent as usual. The book penetrates both the depths of meanness and inanity human beings can hit as well as the heights of nobility, charity, and sympathy. It offers a fine picture of St. Joan of Arc, and one is surprised how well Mark Twain--despite his well known critical opinions of Christianity--enters the Catholic mind. It fares very well against other After reading this book, I'm completely of Twain's own opinion that it's worth the value of all the rest of what he wrote. His prose is excellent as usual. The book penetrates both the depths of meanness and inanity human beings can hit as well as the heights of nobility, charity, and sympathy. It offers a fine picture of St. Joan of Arc, and one is surprised how well Mark Twain--despite his well known critical opinions of Christianity--enters the Catholic mind. It fares very well against other hagiographies and better in many cases because of the plethora of information we have on St. Joan and because of the much time Twain spent researching her life and times.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Vaughn W

    I understand why Mark Twain initially chose to publish this work anonymously since it is such a departure from his humorous works. It is outstanding. Written from the perspective from one of her chief aides and one who had grown up with her, was a good way to tell the tale.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michal

    "Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." This book made my blood boil - whoever historical Joan of Arc really was, her heinous murder by the Catholic Church is a terrifying crime, even by the standards of that atrocious criminal organisation.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gerry

    Before this book, Joan of Arc was a girl who rode a horse into battle. Mark Twain's book put flesh to story and made it believable. I love Mark Twain, and after months of easy reading, reading this book was slow going for me. Well worth it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Peacegal

    Religion is not much of an interest of mine, but it is hard not to fall for this inspiring story of courage and conviction.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Georgia Roybal

    Mark Twain spent more than a decade researching Joan of Arc for this book (a historical novel told by an imaginary scribe to Joan) and he considered it his best work. He even includes an essay at the end about why he admired Joan of Arc so much. The imagery in the book is masterful. If you like medieval war scenarios (which I don't) this book will leave you hearing the trumpets, viewing the charges, seeing the resultant blood. The descriptions of the trials of Inquisition also have you sitting t Mark Twain spent more than a decade researching Joan of Arc for this book (a historical novel told by an imaginary scribe to Joan) and he considered it his best work. He even includes an essay at the end about why he admired Joan of Arc so much. The imagery in the book is masterful. If you like medieval war scenarios (which I don't) this book will leave you hearing the trumpets, viewing the charges, seeing the resultant blood. The descriptions of the trials of Inquisition also have you sitting there in the hearings. One interesting aspect of the hearings is the extent to which they emphasized Joan wearing men's armor into battle instead of more feminine attire. It also addresses the corrupt politics involved with European monarchies and the church. Naturally, Twain's ever-present ironic humor is a major element in this book. Here are some of my favorite passages: Some of the men had been trying to understand why Joan continued to be alert, vigorous, and confident while the strongest men in the company were fagged with the heavy marches and exposure and were become morose and irritable. There, it shows you how men can have eyes and yet not see. All their lives those men had seen their own womenfolks hitched up with a cow and dragging the plough in the fields while the men did the driving. They had also seen other evidences that women have far more endurance and patience and fortitude than men--but what good had their seeing these things been to them? None. It taught them nothing. They were still surprised to see a girl of seventeen bear the fatigues of war better than trained veterans of the army. Paladin's great frame was the right place to hang it for effect. He wore it when off duty; and when he swaggered by with one hand resting on the hilt of his rapier, and twirling his new mustache with the other, everybody stopped to look and admire; and well they might, for he was a fine and stately contrast to the small French gentlemen of the day squeezed into the trivial French costume of the time. He was king bee of the little village that snuggled under the shelter of the frowning towers and bastions of Courdray Castle, and acknowledged lord of the tap-room of the inn. When he opened his mouth there, he got a hearing. ...he was ahead of me and I had to keep my eyes out toward the bastille side, because I could wince better when I saw what to wince at. And as I passed along to bed there was another one: the big Dwarf, in brave new armor, sat sentry at Joan's door--the stern Spirit of War made flesh, as it were--and on his ample shoulder was curled a kitten asleep. ...they were the happiest old children one ever saw...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Zoe Miller

    Having read several biographies of Joan of Arc, I didn't feel I gained much from this as historical fiction. The prose isn't difficult, but it's crammed into dense, long paragraphs that ping-pong back and forth between rote descriptions of events and the narrator's slavering appreciation of Joan as an icon, with little down-to-earth human emotion to be found between. Twain's technique of posing this as a biography written by one of Joan's contemporaries--and himself as the translator, complete w Having read several biographies of Joan of Arc, I didn't feel I gained much from this as historical fiction. The prose isn't difficult, but it's crammed into dense, long paragraphs that ping-pong back and forth between rote descriptions of events and the narrator's slavering appreciation of Joan as an icon, with little down-to-earth human emotion to be found between. Twain's technique of posing this as a biography written by one of Joan's contemporaries--and himself as the translator, complete with footnotes--pads the book with interesting context, but the narrator's voice itself is weak, and only different by degrees from reading an academic work. It's not until the third part that tangible, relatable emotion bleeds into the narrative. This is expected, given we all know what tragedy follows. Until that point, it's some 180-odd pages that are often as grueling as a scholarly work, but--with the reader aware this is fiction--unbolstered by the promise of Historical Rigor a scholar (hopefully) represents. What was most interesting, then, was the historical context of not the 100 years war, but this book itself, and Twain's foresight in writing it. George Bernard Shaw, who memorialized her in his own play Saint Joan some decades later, apparently came out as stridently against Twain's depiction of her trial as a railroading. Modern scholarship I've read is so inline with Twain's fictional portrayal as to be functionally identical, which vindicates Twain, but also calls into question the value of this not-so-sensational novel to modern readers who have already consumed those histories, and have countless more to choose from.

  14. 5 out of 5

    David Kubicek

    Mark Twain originally published this novel under his real name, Samuel L. Clemens, because it was a labor of love. He admired Joan of Arc and didn't want his readers to think it was one of his humorous books. It is narrated by Joan's page and secretary, The Sieur Louis de Conte, remembering these events more than 60 years later. The main events are historically accurate--they were well-documented at the time by contemporary writers and transcripts of Joan's trial and the trial of her redemption Mark Twain originally published this novel under his real name, Samuel L. Clemens, because it was a labor of love. He admired Joan of Arc and didn't want his readers to think it was one of his humorous books. It is narrated by Joan's page and secretary, The Sieur Louis de Conte, remembering these events more than 60 years later. The main events are historically accurate--they were well-documented at the time by contemporary writers and transcripts of Joan's trial and the trial of her redemption 25 years later--but in typical historical novel fashion, Twain created some fictional characters and mixed in some fictional story arcs. But although Twain wanted to disassociate this book from his humorous tales, a lot of his humor permeates the novel, presented in Twain's typical dry wit. For instance, when the crowd becomes furious when Joan is spared from being burned at the stake, they start throwing rocks at the judges (who the narrator exposes as conniving, despicable people throughout the trial), the narrator says: ". . . a stone came near to killing the Cardinal of Winchester--it just missed his head. But the man who threw it was not to blame, for he was excited, and a person who is excited never can throw straight." If you're a fan of Mark Twain, an admirer of Joan of Arc, or both, you probably will like Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Peg

    A very strange book indeed. There were parts I loved,but then, too many parts that were slow and, frankly, boring. I found myself skimming pages. Glad to have read it though.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    I was unfamiliar with this work by Mark Twain, so when I stumbled across it, I immediately wanted to read it. I knew very little of Joan of Arc and thought much was legend, but as it turns out, she is one of the best documented historical figures of that time. Twain spent 12 years researching the story and followed the text of the historical documents in writing her story. He says it is his best novel by far. I don't know that I agree with that, but I would say he was highly enamored of Joan and I was unfamiliar with this work by Mark Twain, so when I stumbled across it, I immediately wanted to read it. I knew very little of Joan of Arc and thought much was legend, but as it turns out, she is one of the best documented historical figures of that time. Twain spent 12 years researching the story and followed the text of the historical documents in writing her story. He says it is his best novel by far. I don't know that I agree with that, but I would say he was highly enamored of Joan and did great justice to her life. No matter, his best or not, I leave that to you, it is Mark Twain, and an excellent, well written novel.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Hank Pharis

    This I found fascinating on three levels. First, it was Twain's last novel and it was uniquely a work of historical fiction with no humor. Secondly, I knew very little about Joan of Arc and found her a very intriguing figure. I look forward to learning more about her later. Third, although Twain was often critical of all sorts of religion (including Biblical miracles), he finds no fault with Joan. He praises her and seems to accept all of her claims about personal revelation and the accounts of m This I found fascinating on three levels. First, it was Twain's last novel and it was uniquely a work of historical fiction with no humor. Secondly, I knew very little about Joan of Arc and found her a very intriguing figure. I look forward to learning more about her later. Third, although Twain was often critical of all sorts of religion (including Biblical miracles), he finds no fault with Joan. He praises her and seems to accept all of her claims about personal revelation and the accounts of miracles related to her. Thus this work seems very out of step with most of his other works concerning religion.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    I didn't realize how little I knew of Joan of Arc. This was a fascinating book. I learned a lot. I read that Twain did a lot of research for this book, which is obvious. It was interesting to me that religion wasn't twisted, knowing a little about Twain's feelings on that subject. That being said, Joan was an amazing woman of faith. What a great example of a strong woman, doing what she needed to do in spite the circumstances surrounding her. I look forward to reading more about her.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    I love Joan of Arc, she's my hero. It was great to learn more about her. I only wish it could have been slightly more story-like. I would have liked to have gotten to know her character a little more; her thoughts and ideas. I think if the book had been from her point of view, I would have liked it even more.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    3.5 stars. The second half of the book was much more interesting than the first half, which included a lot of detailed battled scenes and a lot of flowery language. The second half redeemed the book, though.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Heninger

    I listened to this one and loved every minute. I’m so glad Mark Twain happened on some papers blowing in the wind and developed a love for Joan of Arc.He tells the story as the lifelong friend he is.Note the initials SLC of his character. I am now a lifelong fan of St. Joan!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Kennedy

    Mark Twain might just be my favorite author and this might just be my favorite of his books. The events take place in the 1400s and yet you feel like you're there, and it's just the right ratio of humor to gravity.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Johnny

    opened my eyes to the magnitude of person that joan of arc was

  24. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Brown

    I like history so I enjoyed this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Very un-Twain like, but a bit maudlin for my liking.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    I was pretty disappointed it was fiction. She was quite a person if half of what he wrote about was true.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Julie Brock

    Bizarre - Mark Twain wrote about Joan of Arc. More bizarre - it was then published as a graphic novel. :) Good stuff.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sara Fragoso

    Lovely book about a fascinating character. Not your typical Twain, though his acerbic wit pokes in from time to time in the dialogue. Once the trial started, I couldn't put it down!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    exellent on faith and bravery and trust

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jake Broce

    Absolutely one of my favorite books. Highly underrated.

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