Women's History Resource Site
King's College History Department
Jehanne. Joan of Arc and Her Companions.
New York: John Lane Company, 1908.
The background of Joan of Arc is a simple one to follow. Joan was born in France on January 6,1412. While she was still in her youth a war broke out between England and France. The Duke of Burgundy sided with England and as a result split France in two.
Joan was a very religious child and when she was
thirteen, she heard the voices of saints Michael, Margaret and Catherine. The
voices told her to go to the King’s generals and with a plan to defeat the
English. At first she was mocked and laughed at, but her devotion and passion
prevailed. In 1429 she was finally given command.
The French troops rallied behind her and won victories that were
considered to be miracles. But the war with Burgundy dragged on. In 1430 Joan
once again was forced to take the field. She was captured and sold to the
English who feared her and wanted her dead. They held her on charges of
witchcraft. She was chained at the neck, wrists, and ankles. She brought about
so much sympathy that her trial had to take place away from the public. She was
found to be a misbeliever and was sentenced to be burn. At the sight of the
stake she made a hasty reaction and signed an agreement to never wear men’s
clothes again. But either as a trick or through her own change of heart she put
on armor and was again sentenced to death this time without recourse. She died
on May 30, 1430. In 1456 she was cleared of all charges, but was not
canonized until 1920.
The book was written in a way that made it very easy
to read. It was basically written
like a novel, which made it simple to follow.
Eventhough this style of writing made it effortless to read, it made me
wonder if it was all historically correct.
It is very hard to determine if they actually said and did some of the
things mentioned. The book made it
look like she was just a tool used by Yolanda of Anjou and then cast aside like
a piece of rubbish.
In the book the exact date of Joan’s birth is unknown, it was estimated
somewhere between 1410 and 1412. Her
father, Jacques d’Arc was a native of Ceffonds in Champagne. His wife was
Isabelle and she was from Vouthon, a village to the northwest of Domremy. The
family has seem to taken their name from the village of Arc in Barrios. Jaques
and Isabelle had three children before Joan: Jaques, Catherine, and Jean. Pierre
came along after Joan to finish the family tree.
Domremy-de-Greux was the name of the town that Joan was born
in but it is now called Domremy-la-Pucelle which is on the border between the
Duchy of Bar and the Duchy of Lorraine. Domremy
was not a desolate village in the middle of nowhere.
It was on a busy road between Langres and Verdun, which was constantly
being traveled by pilgrims and soldiers. This
brought new faces through the town daily with new stories to be told.
Jehanne D’Orliac has written very interesting book.
Elisabeth Abbott completed the authorized translation from French to English.
There are thirteen illustrations and three maps, which make the book more
interesting. When reading the book and then referring to a picture or a map, it
gives you an idea of where you are and what the author is talking about. This
helped me out when I was reading because I had something to look at and it gave
me a picture in my mind.
It would be difficult for a historian to write a book
of the dramatic events of the life of the Maid and not enhance the stories a
bit. I do not believe that this made the book less credible though. History is
not always the most interesting thing to write about. Therefore in order to make
it an easy to read story, it is a necessity to embellish the facts. But
sometimes if one looks more closely at history itself, it can make a profound
influence, without any exaggeration.
The part that impacted on me was that Joan was just a
regular person from a peasant family. But this peasant girl had a little more to
offer the world. While in her fathers garden, she heard voices Of St. Michael
and St. Catherine (in reality she heard the voice of St. Margeret as well).
These messengers of God told her that she would save the king, thus shaping her
future. This was just a peasant girl who has no impact on the government, but
was able to get the king and queen to listen to her. She had no status that
would make her a reliable source. That is what makes this story so interesting.
It is very believable for me seeing that her being a peasant was of little
importance and that she had such a big impact on history.
At times this book became difficult to read because
of all the historical background it gave. These were the parts that needed
elaboration in order to hold interest. It
told who was in charge of what areas and what most of the problems were at the
time. I found myself very uninterested while reading these parts.
At one point in time I even checked to see if I had gotten the correct
book! The title itself did not follow through.
Joan of Arc and her Companions was not a good description of the book. It did not talk about her friends or even the people that
I received the idea that everyone at first did not
want to believe Joan. Then everything she said she had said had come true.
Everyone who had previously rallied around her later turned their back on her.
This reminds me of how everyone wants you friendship when you are on top, but
when you’re not, everyone tosses you by and forgets you. It’s simply the
But the part that gets me is how Joan saved France
and everyone was happy. The peasant girl who heard messages from St. Catherine
and St. Michael did what the voices told her. After leading the army to victory,
how then could everyone turn on her and accuse her of sorcery? The irony of the
situation is that they burn her and then years later make her a saint. Some
people make me question their motives. But Joan of Arc has made a profound
impact on the world and helped to make it what it is today. She is now
rightfully the Patron Saint of France.
Wayland. The Judgements of Joan. Cambridge, Mass.: 1961.
This book gives a basic overview of the life of Joan of Arc
.It gives you all the basic information that goes along with her life and her
deeds. Charles Lightbody gives examples of the conclusions that we have drawn
from Joans life.
West-Sackville, V. Saint Joan of Arc. New York : The Literary Guild, 1936.
This book was written in a way that you could recognize that the author did her research. Sackville-West has written a very useful book that could be used for doing research on Joan .Along with the text are pictures which give you an idea of the area of the world
Written by Written by Matt Gingo, 2000 December 5
Last Revision: 18 December 2001
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