CRF Blog

Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured

by Bill Hayes

The New York Times Book Review reviews Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured by Kathryn Harrison.

It remains, after nearly 600 years, a story to break your heart. In the 1420s, in a village in northeastern France, an illiterate teenage peasant girl has a series of visions telling her that God wants her to lead a French army to lift the English siege of Orléans and help crown the dauphin, Charles, king in the cathedral at Reims. Putting on men’s clothing and winning over everyone by force of character and belief, she gets her army and triumphantly achieves all that the voices have foretold. Pious, outspoken, stubborn and recklessly courageous, she breaks every rule of gender, class and organized religion, and the people flock to her. Then comes her fall. Sidelined at court, she waits too long to launch an unsuccessful attack on English-occupied Paris, during which she is wounded, and then in a skirmish at Compiègne she is captured. Abandoned by the king, she is cruelly imprisoned, tried as a heretic and witch, then burned at the stake. The light of revelation ends in the agony of fire, and the legend of Joan of Arc is born. [more]

CRF has a free Bill of Rights in Action online lesson titled “ ‘Go Boldly!’: Joan of Arc and the Hundred Years War.”  Available from  CRF’s Bill of Rights in Action Archive, it is currently only in PDF and you will have to register (if you haven’t already), which is free.