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Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,949 Ratings  ·  551 Reviews
A work that Mark Twain himself considered his last finished and most important novel, "The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc," is a departure from Twain's usual comic and satirical spirit. "Joan" is a work of serious historical reflection that suggests that the English deliberately rigged the trial of Joan of Arc to convict her of witchcraft and heresy, a view that rec ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by (first published 1883)
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Feb 01, 2011 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 31, 2012 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Poet Gentleness
Jan 08, 2016 Poet Gentleness rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who like well-written, well-researched romanced history
Recommended to Poet Gentleness by: Giovanna, my youngest daughter
Shelves: classics, beauties

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

I don’t believe in saints. I don’t believe in angels. My trust in people has been shattered during the last years. I have serious issues with faith and god, because many times I have wondered what I could have possibly 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, b
Gregory Lee
Apr 29, 2012 Gregory Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 05, 2008 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 11, 2012 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mar 06, 2008 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  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!
Kristopher Swinson
Mar 14, 2011 Kristopher Swinson rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Nov 27, 2010 Terrence rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
This is a unique offering from Mark Twain - it is neither the scathing attack on humanity of his later years, nor the gentle mocking of his earlier career - although a bit of that does creep in - he cannot wholly deny that impulse.

Instead, he shows a picture of chivalry and adventure and some genuine piety and courage - a bit different from Connecticut Yankee or The Prince and the Pauper. He paints Joan of Arc as a reverential hero, pious and fearless and brave, and a martyr.

Best suited for the
Robin King
May 16, 2012 Robin King rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-reads

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
Dec 28, 2008 Alesia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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
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
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
John Wiswell
May 09, 2008 John Wiswell rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jul 19, 2013 Rich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inspiring! Reading this book got me acquainted with two great people from history; Joan of Arc and Mark Twain. Generally when we think about Mark Twain, we think of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. These were characters and themes with which Mark Twain was intimately acquainted. He essentially wrote about himself. The subject of Joan of Arc is another matter. Here Twain had to be true to a historical narrative, and I feel he did a superb job.

This book has a 15th century feel to it, but it's imp
Christina Smith
Jan 31, 2016 Christina Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a beautiful marriage of heroic truth/historical accuracy and beautiful story-telling. I have been looking for an uplifting book, and who better to turn to than Joan of Arc? Honestly, it's the best book I've read in a long while for many reasons. I've never really paid much attention to Twain before (not even sure I've read any of his other books?) but that's alright because according to him, this is his best and favorite of all his works. It IS long, and I'll admit I skipped some pa ...more
Jul 13, 2010 Jill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant! One of the top five best books I've ever read. Mark Twain's writing is amazing. I was so captivated by this book, and by its subject. I *love* Twain's style in this book. It is far and away the best book he's written. He wrote with such warmth, such rich detail, and obviously did an amazing amount of research. I learned so much and was enthralled with Joan of Arc. Twain had me laughing out loud, while I was also in such sorrow for the fate of this young girl. This book truly impressed ...more
May 08, 2015 Margie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If Samuel Clemens picked this book as his personal favorite of all the books he authored, that was impetus enough for me to read it. Perhaps I am biased since I have a profound affection for Joan and can't get enough of her story. This is an interesting narrative, told by one of Joan's childhood friends who then acted as her scribe from the time she left home to help save her country.
It is interesting to see Twain's language wrap itself around the story, and being familiar with his style, it mad
May 25, 2009 Carrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Justin Morrison
Apr 19, 2016 Justin Morrison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book deserves more than the maximum five stars. This is a ten star book living in a five star world.
Jul 31, 2014 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, history, e-book, nook
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
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
Aug 03, 2012 Michele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-of-2012
This book is nothing short of spectacular. I had a singular experience while reading it. I almost felt like I was picking up scripture, it seemed that holy. I felt like every word was carefully hand crafted and chosen to help me understand the book better. While reading he would say things like, Reader do you understand what this means? And if my answer was, yes, he went on. If my answer was no, he explained more. Sometimes it seemed like he was there in the room with me. The book has such a rea ...more
Feb 02, 2012 Audrey rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jul 02, 2012 Christy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If Joan didn't accomplish what she did, then France might not have been there to help Washington in the Revolutionary war. Every French citizen from her time in the 1400's till now and every American citizen owes her deep gratitude.

Mark Twain went WAY overboard in his devotion to her. I do believe she deserves much praise and admiration, but not on almost every page. In fact, if Twain would have cut down his idol worship to a tolerable amount, his book, Joan of Arc, would be a pamphlet. Actuall
Sep 07, 2009 Bap rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 about Mark Twain...

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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.” 74 likes
“To believe yourself brave is to be brave; it is the one only essential thing.” 45 likes
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