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Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc
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Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  3,168 ratings  ·  456 reviews
In 1429, a 17-year-old peasant girl receives a message from Heaven that she is to rescue France from its English oppressors. Within two years this most unlikely of heroines leads a ragtag army to victory, sees the king crowned, and dies at the stake, martyred by traitors.
Audio, 120 pages
Published November 1st 1999 by Monterey Soundworks (first published 1883)
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Karen
Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain 3.5 stars

I have never deemed myself a fan of Mark Twain, but I understand that this work is quite a departure for him. I enjoyed this book for the mere fact that I did not really know anything about Joan of Arc. I found the story intriguing and even touching at times. It was a slow start for me and I wasn’t sure I could get through it at first, but then it picked up in Part II. The narrative was extremely detailed but some of Twain’s humor and...more
Kathy
Why had I never heard of this book? I was an English major! I read lots and lots of lesser books in college and no one even breathed a hint that this book existed. Thankfully, I saw it on a friend's bookshelf, and decided to read it myself.

About this book, Twain said: "I like Joan of Arc best of all my books; and it is the best; I know it perfectly well. And besides, it furnished me seven times the pleasure afforded me by any of the others; twelve years of preparation, and two years of writing....more
Kim
Joan of Arc, called of God at the age of thirteen to save France in the 100 Year War against the English. At the age of seventeen she asked to have her own men at war and be sent to the king, or the Dauphin. She was denied the first time she asked and she then went a second time and she received the help of two knights. She was sent before the king and she gave him a sign, yet she was still sent before a jury of judges and priests to perceive if she was sane or a heretic. She passes with flying...more
Gregory Lee
As Americans, we are required to consider "Huckleberry Finn" to be Twain's best work. It's the book in which Twain confronts racism and first proclaims that a white boy can have a black, escaped slave as a father figure. Twain confronted much of his America's foolishness in the raft trip down the river.

He also at the end provided an easy answer: Jim was not an escaped slave after all, he'd been freed. Tom Sawyer could fix things without telling this. Perhaps one shouldn't criticize Twain for lov...more
Kristopher Swinson
Mar 14, 2011 Kristopher Swinson rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kristopher by: Wayne Brickey, Sr.
I'd already read a book on Joan in preparation for a trip to France, but a friend happened to mention this literally in the eleventh hour, so I took it with me. I wasn't disappointed. I always hated Twain's Finn and Sawyer, but curiously seemed to enjoy his Connecticut Yankee much more. Perhaps he should have stuck with historical fiction. This, his labor of love, stands out in more ways than one.

Having actually looked long and hard into the obscure trial proceedings, Twain brought them to life...more
Jenny
After 12 years of research, the famous Mark Twain beautifully set down the story of Joan of Arc in a way that only a master storyteller could. What an amazing young woman she was! She was soft and humble as only a young person could be, and yet she had the courage and strength of a lioness.

She could lead a charge into combat and then, after winning, comfort a dying enemy in her arms. That was the kind of woman that she was. Despite being called to a "man's work," she kept her femininity ever pre...more
Jenny
Mar 06, 2008 Jenny rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
This is probably one of my MOST favorite books. The charecter and moral conduct of Joan is so inspiring to me, and Twain has such a way of describing her greatness. I absolutely love it!
Cristiane Serruya
Jul 26, 2014 Cristiane Serruya rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who like well-written, well-researched romanced history
Recommended to Cristiane by: Giovanna, my youngest daughter
Shelves: classics, beauties



"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
Socrates


I don’t believe in Saints. I don’t believe in Angels. My trust in people have been shattered along my life.
I have serious issues with Faith, because many times I have wondered what I could have possible done so wrong to deserve certain things that have happened to me.
But I digress.


Jeanne D’Arc has always seemed to me an insane woman; a created legend, almost a fairy - or a distorted tale.

How could a teenager, barely a woman, have...more
Terrence
It is unbelievable that after all the years of school through completing two masters degrees, I never heard of this work by Mark Twain AKA Samuel Clemens until I found it on the shelves of a religious bookstore in Emmitsburg, MD on a pilgrimage to visit the shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. And yet, Mark Twain wrote that he considered Joan of Arc the best of all his books, "twelve years of preparation, and two years of writing." Why do the so-called intellectual elite omit mention of this book...more
Chrissie
I am extremely glad I read this book, but I can give it no more than three stars. I will explain, in the hope that other prospective readers can accurately determine if this book will fit the bill for them.

Are you curious about the history of Joan of Arc? Are you interested in an accurate and detailed exposition? In such a case this book is for you. Although a book of historical fiction, it is accurate and detailed and well researched. Mark Twain considered this his best opus. I think I would ag...more
Raphael Mercikovsky
This was a very special book. The only reason I did not rate it higher is it is very difficult to read. It is the beautiful story of Joan of Arc and the love and respect Mark Twain had for her comes across on every page. In an essay about her he stated, "she is easily and by far the most extraordinary person the human race has ever produced." I was intrigued when I saw the book was written by Mark Twain. As a Catholic I was concerned how someone with his complicated religious beliefs would tell...more
Jodi
Beautifully written and historically accurate depiction of the now Saint Joan of Arc. Twain was meticulous with his research, taking twelve years, with another two to write the story. Twain is clearly mesmerized with his subject, repeatedly touching on her youth, intellect, beauty, and impeccable character. It was fascinating to read about this incredible woman, who had no education (she couldn't read or write) yet she was able to conduct complex military operations. She was diminutive in size,...more
Isidore
The value I derived from this book was not in its portrait of Joan of Arc; in that Twain is just as fervent a heroine-worshiper as are probably most who tackle the odd, short life of this girl-soldier. That Twain of all people could judge someone's life so praiseworthy gives me hope that the entire lot of us aren't a waste.

What I found entertaining and useful were the author's thoughts on religion versus faith and the shameful, self-serving games that politicians have always and will always play...more
Feisty Harriet
Did you know Mark Twain wrote a lengthy biography on Joan of Arc? Did you also know that he considers it his best and most important work? At age 17 Joan was appointed the Commander in Chief of the French armies by Charles VII, the uncrowned heir to the broken French thrown. At that point France and England were 90-some odd years in to the Hundred Years War, 6 or 7 years earlier Henry V had won English accolades at the Battle of Agincourt when his tiny force defeated tens of thousands of French...more
Randolph Carter
This is the only book out of thousands that I have ever abandoned and never come back to. It is so dull and plodding that I just could not pay attention to it. I tried the audio book and just could not concentrate on it. Then I tried to read it with a similar result; I would go through pages and not retain a thing due to its dilatory pace. Maybe it gets better but I have a better use for my time.

Twain considered it his best book (?).
Robin King


I find Twain's eloquent writing style captivating. I had to stop several times to remind myself that the author was not there and that he was writing as a fictional character. Most of us know at least a little about Joan of Arc, but this book gave me a whole new insight into her mission and eventual death. Twain's descriptions of real life characters, though somewhat bias by his own leanings, became real to me. I actually felt like I knew them. Even though this book is one of Twain's less comed...more
Alesia
Very few people know that Mark Twain actually wrote a book about Joan of Arc. It took him years and many trips to France to collect the necessary information. The story of the famous peasant girl is told in a lively manner, with a special Mark Twain touch, but preserving the historical preciseness as well. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the story of Joan of Arc.
Carrie
Huzzah for the Main of Orleans! This is my new very favoritest book of all times. I think this book should be curriculum. Why have I never heard of it before? Many kudos to Mark Twain for his hard work and honest telling of the story of Joan of Arc.
Paul
Actual rating: 3.5 stars.

This novel is in the public domain and can be read free on line. Nevertheless I paid B&N $1.99 for a Nook copy that turned out to be full of optical character recognition scanning errors. If you want to read it yourself, I recommend you do a Google search and find a free copy to read on line. Don't pay for a bunch of typos like I did. Now that that unpleasantness is out of the way, my review of a classic that somehow eluded me until now.

I finished Joan of Arc in a mi...more
Shinn
I bought this book five years ago during my "theological" phase. All this time it has been sitting on my bookshelf, yellowing and getting that lovely golden biscuit smell of old books. I tried to read it twice but couldn't get past the first hundred or so pages and yet, I don't have the heart to give it a lower rating. There's been so much time and devotion poured into this book that it is difficult not to be touched. This is a work of love. The trouble is that, love is often blind, and blinding...more
Bethany
This book is well done, but it is not as witty as most of Mark Twain's other writings. Interestingly, Mark Twain considered this his masterpiece. I can see how--but I also think that Mark Twain's serious fans might not enjoy Joan of Arc very much. It is a true biography, not a book filled with irony and wit. There is some of that, but the purpose of the book is to outline Joan of Arc's life. Mark Twain has succeeded spectacularly in this, but anyone who likes The Adventures of Tom Sawyer should...more
Audrey
Feb 02, 2012 Audrey rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Audrey by: my history teacher
Book report: Joan of Arc, by Mark Twain
~~~

“The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc” was written by Mark Twain under the pseudonym “Sieur Louis de Conte”, his fictionalized version of Joan’s page and secretary. Twain describes Joan as a selfless young girl, loyal and faithful, noble and true, forgiving and gracious, wise beyond her years and strong in battle, devoted to God and her country. He concludes his essay by stating, “She is easily and by far the most extraordinary person that the human...more
Bap
This was Twain's favorite of his works. It came at the end of his career when his indignation overcome his humor. This explains, perhaps why this is not one of his better known works. He tells the story of Joan of Arc, the illiterate peasant girl who powered by voices that told her that she must rally a people to its king and country to drive the English back across the channel.

It is astounding that this girl of 17 should achieve so much and tragic that she was captured and burned at the stake...more
Ycel
I discovered Mark Twain’s Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc as a free e-book download and it was a marvelous read. I wish that young people read this book because her life, though short, was great, a lone supernova at that darkest time in human history. Her achievements were so great, but to me, the real value of the story is her unwavering faith despite and against all odds. The Rouen trial scenes were long and tedious (literally translated from the trial documents) but Mark Twain employed...more
Lisa
I really enjoyed Joan of Arc. It took me a while to read it because it was the kind of book that you actually could put down. The chapters were short, so it seemed like I would read a chapter or two each night and as long as I didn't put too much time in between chapters it wasn't hard to remember what happened the last time I read. It really felt like a journey reading it a little at a time.

I only remember reading Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn from Mark Twain, and that from high school, so I...more
Debbie
I've heard stories about Joan of Arc, usually in European history classes. But I never knew the real story, and all the politics involved. This book, presented as a novel, gives life to the people involved and the political climate of the times. Mark Twain's reflections on the judges that try Joan of Arc are witty and sarcastic, but in a subtle way. But they do lighten up a very emotional, riveting tale.

The tale is told from the point of view of a childhood friend of Joan's. As her scribe, he g...more
Welton Barker
The publication of The Oxford Mark Twain edition of Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc is significant, primarily in that it makes available to a wide audience a book that has been unjustly relegated to the rosters of religious specialty publishers, thereby denying it the widespread popularity it so richly deserves. The edition also includes two very insightful essays on the book: an Introduction by Justin Kaplan and an Afterword by Susan K. Harris. However, both of these essays make the mista...more
Elaine
I discovered the existence of this book by chance and read it as a curiosity. It is truly astounding. Others have written extensively about the history and background of this book. My reading of this was not as a Twain, religious or feminist scholar. My appreciation of the book is based entirely on Twain's words on paper as he described the life of Joan of Arc through the voice of Twain's fictional Sieur Louis Conte (SLC no less!), Joan's childhood friend who would become her page and secretary....more
Sally
From a young age, Joan of Arc had a brilliant mind and visions and commands from angels. When she was in her early teenage years, she pleaded and begged with the King to have permission to raise an army and drive the English out of France. Finally she marched out to battle and won battle after battle, causing hope in the French and fear in the British. In battle, on day, she was hurt and the British captured her. King Charles was indifferent to this Maid of Orleans who had sacrificed so much for...more
John Wiswell
May 09, 2008 John Wiswell rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Classics readers, history readers, people interested in Joan of Arc, Twain fans
This novel should have dispelled a lot of insipid stigmas about Twain’s writing, but nobody read it. The Europeans didn’t read it because it was an American tampering with their history (and a very unflattering bit of their history, too). The Americans didn’t read it because it wasn’t funny. Most professional critics wouldn’t admit they disliked this book just because it wasn’t funny because that would also admit how dumb they really are. But it stands: this a long, largely serious novel about a...more
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Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876).

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He apprenticed with a printer. He also work...more
More about Mark Twain...
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn The Adventures of Tom Sawyer The Prince and the Pauper A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court The Adventures of Tom Sawyer & Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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“The common eye sees only the outside of things, and judges by that, but the seeing eye pierces through and reads the heart and the soul, finding there capacities which the outside didn't indicate or promise, and which the other kind of eye couldn't detect.” 64 likes
“To believe yourself brave is to be brave; it is the one only essential thing.” 38 likes
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