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Pope Joan

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  61,402 ratings  ·  4,375 reviews
A world-wide bestseller, major motion picture and upcoming "Director's Cut" TV mini-series exclusively for the U.S!

For a thousand years her existence has been denied. She is the legend that will not die–Pope Joan, the ninth-century woman who disguised herself as a man and rose to become the only female ever to sit on the throne of St. Peter. Now in this riveting novel, Don
Paperback, 422 pages
Published June 9th 2009 by Ballantine Books (NY) (first published 1996)
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Jens Raab It's been a while that I read the book and watched the movie (the longer TV version) but from what I remember the movie was quite OK. Very…moreIt's been a while that I read the book and watched the movie (the longer TV version) but from what I remember the movie was quite OK. Very entertaining but there are some differences to the novel.
So I would say that the adaption could be a bit more faithful and compressed the plot (which was to be expected given the length of the novel) and therefore isn't perfect but half as good? Yes! ;-)(less)
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4.07  · 
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 ·  61,402 ratings  ·  4,375 reviews

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Interesting take on the legend, but has some flaws. I think I'm going to be another one in the minority here. I found the idea of a woman disguised as a man seated on the papal throne to be an interesting legend and the author did a decent job with it. I appreciated the research the author took on the period and customs of the times, which is not an easy task as so much is unknown about the dark ages.

The problem I had is the incredible coincidences throughout the book where Joan is just saved i
Mar 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, historical
About the only female pope back in the 9th century. The Catholic Church today treats Pope Joan as legend created by the Protestants, but with over 500 documents to prove she did exist, it is but another bureaucratic cover-up.
A woman from Frankish lands with Saxon and English heritage in the 9th century going out there and doing it for herself. It is a thinking person's book. Lots of Latin in there, of course, because the language used in the church then was Latin. But don't let that stop you fro

In conclusion, having completed this novel, having struggled through to the end, I can say I did not like it. I didn't like it from the start to the end. When I voice this opinion, I am obviously in the minority. I do appreciate that the author concluded with an informative author's note, which supports her belief that Pope Joan did exist, between the acknowledged Pope Leo IV and Pope Benedict III. I found her arguments undeniably convincing. I do not know whether Pope Joan existed
May 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: a-the-best
Before I started reading this book I gave a brief summary to some of my friends who saw that I had just bought it and were wondering about it. That got us into a heated discussion about how completely outrageous it is for a woman to dress up as a man. How it's pretty much impossible to get away with it seeing as you'll always end up in some sort of situation where you have to reveal yourself for what you really are.

That discussion ended up shading me slightly when I began to read, thinking, "Rea
Farhadian Sara
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟فوق العاده بود 👍

ماجرا از این قرار است:
در قرن ۹ میلادی،در سرزمین فرانک ها،دختری به نام «یوهانا» از کشیش سختگیر و متعصب و مادری ساکسونی (که مسیحی نبود) بدنیا آمد که استعداد درخشانی داشت و زمانی به دانش پزشکی و علم فلسفه را فرا گرفت که در قرون وسطا،درهای دانش به روی زنان و دختران مطلقاً بسته بود.
الهام بخش یوهانا،برادرش «ماتیاس» بود که در ۱۳ سالگی فوت میکند و استادِ برادرش که گاهی به او نیز درس میداد به نام «اسکولاپیوس» که اولین کتاب را به او داد و تمام مشکلات یوهانا از آنجا شروع شد...
هر چند ک
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Donna Wolfolk cross
نویسنده ای که تا بحال کتابی به فارسی از ایشان ترجمه نشده است جز کتاب پاپ یوحنا
در انتهای کتاب تعدادی سند تاریخی ذکر شده از وجود پاپ مونث در اسناد واتیکان که به عمد دستکاری شدن . پاپی که در حوالی سال ۸۵۰ میلادی می زیسته
یک پاپ مونث .

در زمانی که هنوز زنان به این باور نرسیده بودند که میتوانند حقوقی مساوی مردان طلب کنند و به جای احقاق حقوق خود لباس مردانه پوشیده و به فعالیت اجتماعی میپرداختند . تعداد این زنان هر چند کم اما نشان دهنده ی تلاش آنها برای حضور در جامعه بوده است . ترس
Mar 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Whenever you see a legend, you can be sure, if you go to the very bottom of things, that you will find history. Vallet de Viriville

Joan Anglicus is a frustrated young girl. The brightest and most scholarly of all her siblings, she is often denied the chance to learn because of her sex. The Dark Ages were a time when womens brains were thought to be smaller than a man's and only needed for child bearing. Why teach a girl to read and write? Joan cannot accept this. She runs away with her older bro
Aug 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pope Joan is a figure I was aware of but knew next to nothing about, her existence is surrounded by mystery and so she seems the ideal figure to write a historical fiction novel about. Author Donna Woolfolk Cross writes an interesting tale about what could have been a young girl's life in that time.

Daughter of a canon who values women little and definitely finds them unworthy of an education her Joan has to struggle from early on to pursue her studies. Luckily she finds a monk willing to help he
Marina Finlayson
Mar 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a novelisation of the life of the probably-real female pope, Pope Joan. So few records remain that historians cannot agree on whether she actually existed, and the "facts" of her life are few, so the author had lots of scope for invention. Her use, more than once, of amazing coincidences to get Joan out of trouble bothered me, but I couldn't fault the historical side of the novel. She obviously did a lot of research, and has recreated the look and feel of an often-overlooked part of his ...more
Apr 21, 2008 rated it did not like it
I was so torn while reading this book. It was decent writing, the characters were strong--but there were a few problems for me. Everyone was a caricature with the exception of Joan. What I really hated, though, was how the author took a great possibility of a story and turned it into flaming feminist rhetoric. Every favorite feminist theme was there, from rape and abuse to abortion. Why can't smart girls sew and cook as well as dumb ones? And why isn't it OK to be dumb, for that matter, if you'r ...more
Carole P. Roman
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Stunning story about the first alleged female Pope. Donna Woolfolk Cross takes a thousand year old legend and writes a compelling back story that left me with many questions. Pope Joan begins her life as a precocious English child with a thirst for knowledge who eventually fools everyone to become Pope. Steeped in history, Cross explains how this happened with a fascinating tale of ambition and adventure. A great read, she describes many common practices that the leaders of the church follow tod ...more
Maybe I should NOT try to claim that I have actually and indeed finished reading Donna Woolfolk Cross' Pope Joan, as I have now tried to peruse this here novel a total of four times and not been able (or even in any way all that willing) to proceed past page 90 or so (always giving up in both despair and often even anger). However, and my sincere apologies to those of you who have actually loved Pope Joan (and there does seem to be quite a large number of fans), if I am unable to get past page 9 ...more
Jun 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
If you've read the Clan of the Cave Bear series, you've met this heroine before - she's perfect, she invents everything, she can heal everyone of everything, she's a proto-New Age Woman who has fallen in love with the perfect man.
While there were parts of this story that were greatly enjoyable, the reliance on stock tricks to advance the plot and an opinion that you are either good or bad hampered the book.
Quis, quid, quomondo, ubi, quando, cur?

Quis — siapa?

Namanya Joan. Dilahirkan tahun 814 Masehi di Ingelheim (sekarang di wilayah Jerman). Putri satu-satunya seorang kanon (semacam pendeta atau imam) dari Inggris dan istrinya yang orang Saxon. Punya dua kakak laki-laki, Matthew dan John. Dari kecil sudah menampakkan kecerdasan dan keingintahuan yang luar biasa. Joan menderita siksaan fisik dari ayahnya gara-gara hal itu, tapi toh ia tidak mau berhenti belajar.

Quid — apa?

Perjuangan Joan, yang den
Sep 19, 2011 rated it liked it
All in all I would say this book was an enjoyable read and there were some things about it which I found to be interesting. I did like the way in which this book explored the lives of women living in this time period and particularly explored the challenges and struggles of those women who did want to break the mold and wanted more for their lives than what was expected of them and what was allowed to them.

But there were some issues I had with the book.

One of my biggest complaints about the bo
Doug Bradshaw
Going back into history in a good novel is almost always enjoyable. We cringe as we see how brutal life was with disease, no freedom, exacting religious leaders, hard for the poor to find food, the rich overindulged and sickening. Woman are treated like slaves and their lives are there to serve their husbands. In this book, a very intelligent and likable girl attempts to find her way out of this life only to be kicked back by conservative religious leaders every step of the way. There is no plac ...more
Sirpa Grierson
Dec 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Extraordinary historical fiction piece set in the Dark Ages, about a brilliant and prodigious intellect, Joan, who hungers for an education in an age where women were thought of as chattel and reading and writing were reserved for priests and noblemen. Knowledge is power, or as her tutor tells her, "some ideas are dangerous." Having mastered Greek, Latin, classical scholarly debate, scriptural knowledge and knowledge of medicine and healing, Joan breaks the mold of women being "incapable of reas ...more
Ricardo Serra
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Sempre que oiço alguém dizer "Não gosto de ler", penso sempre que infelizmente nunca encontrou o livro certo. Por isso começo por agradecer ao meu bom amigo Marco Caetano, as inúmeras obras que me tem recomendado, pois nas suas indicações tenho-me deleitado com várias horas de prazer literário.

A Papisa Joana foi mais um dos seus notáveis conselhos. Uma obra assombrosa, divinal! Um livro que me fascinou ao primeiro capitulo e que me fez devorar autenticamente as suas folhas, ao ponto de quando t
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Iva Pivkova
Jun 22, 2015 rated it liked it
I really hope it's not just a legend :)
Joseph Soltero
Nov 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Pope Joan has recently become one of my most favorite books. To think, I bought it months ago, and it’s sat on my shelf all that time. I guess now is the time when I needed to read the book.

Cross has done a superb job bringing the tale of Pope Joan to life in this riveting, epic page-turner. From the very first page, you become irresistibly engrossed in the captivating saga of this girl who was born into a world that limited her behavior, but could not dominate her ambitious spirit, determined t
Jul 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed this book! It has been on my TBR for longer than most. I guess I was expecting a much more dry and tedious story for some reason. I know there are arguments on both sides of this "legend." I didn't concern myself with that. After a bit of a slow start, the story got rolling and it was fast-paced, exciting and fun. It had more of a romance than I was expecting, and lots of drama with several save the day coincidences, but that made it all the more ent ...more
Apr 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was absolutely everything you could want in a historical fiction. It is actually right up there with some of the best historical fictions I've ever read. It was reminiscent of Follette at times, reminiscent of Rutherford at times, yet though I was reminded this book was thoroughly it's own. There was just so much to love and be entertained by.

Based on the real (although there is proof some believe legend) Pope John Angelicus aka Johanna aka Joan, like her namesake there is never a single d
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
"Joan shrugged. "A man should be free to live the life he chooses." To herself she added, And so, for that matter, should a woman."

Before seeing a GR review on this book, I had never even heard of Pope Joan. I thoroughly enjoyed the story for many different reasons. I thought the author did a brilliant job of making the ninth century come to live. Imagine being a woman in an age where you most probably would not be taught to read, and the only book you would ever see would be the Bible. Where th
Feb 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
یوحنا دختری که در قرون وسطا از پدری کشیش و انگلیسی و مادری ساکسونی بدنیا آمد. اول برادر بزرگترش به او کمی سواد خواندن یاد داد و برخلاف سختگیریها پدرش او معلم خصوصی یونانیای پیدا کرد. سپس به همراه برادرش به مدرسهای مذهبی فرستاده شد و بعد از حمله به آن منطقه او در لباسی مبدل به شکل مردی درآمد و این سررشته پیشرفتهای او شد تا اینکه به مقامی پاپی در رم رسید.
رمان روایتی هیجانانگیز دارد که همه گونه اتفاق در آن یافت میشود. جنگ و خونریزی، انتقام و بخشش، عشق و خیانت... همه آنچه که یک فیلم هالیوودی نیاز دا
Aug 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cross convinced me that Pope Joan was an actual historical figure who was briliant and compassionate and through her sheer force of will climbed her way up the church hierarchy right in the midst of the Dark Ages to be anointed as Pope. The story began of a brilliant young girl who was first taught to read and write by her older brother much to the chagrin of her abusive father. After attracting the attention of a scholar she is taken with her other brother to a school for advanced study at the ...more
Ana Isabel
Dec 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r-historical
Já há imenso tempo que não sentia o prazer que senti ao ler este livro.
A primeira coisa que me cativou foi o estilo de escrita da autora; é bastante simples e fluído, mas ao mesmo tempo consegue ser belo e tocante. É daquele género de narrativas que estão tão bem construídas que largar a obra se torna impossível, pelo que tudo o que conseguimos dizer é: só mais um bocadinho, deixa-me só acabar este capítulo...
A história em si é, também, bastante interessante. Na época medieval a educa
20180524 | Review | Pope Joan
by Donna Cross

Donna Cross' book was one of those rare books that I simply could not put down. From cover to cover it kept my interest throughout.

Ms. Cross did an excellent job translating her research about 9th century European history, giving us a 'probable' scenario of what life was like during that time. Her end-notes indicates that life was tougher than what she wrote and that she needed to soften that part of the story. She also research Joan herself, indicatin
Mary Seay
Dec 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll pick this book from my shelf at odd times during the year, and no matter what page I land on I get sucked in all over again. It's an engrossing read, well-researched and well-written, that brings each character to life with stunning clarity. The author crafts the heroine in such a way that her perceptions on the current state of the church are far from the heresy one might worry would pervade this novel. In fact, for me, it reinforced the intelligence and plain-clothes wisdom of Christ that ...more
Becky Ahrendsen
recommended by Linda Denberry, used for Book Club March 2011-
Joan is not content to take what society says she should be, born the year of 814 - A smart child of a canon (priest) and Saxon woman (Gudrun who confessed to believe in Christ to save her life after her village had all perished)- Joan learns her older brother, Matthew's lessons. Until he dies. Then There is a visiting scholar (Aesculapius) sees promise in her and teaches her and her younger brother, John. Later, her father lets John
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Donna Woolfolk Cross graduated cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Pennsylvania in 1969 with a B.A. in English. She moved to London, England, after graduation, and worked as an editorial assistant for a small publishing house on Fleet Street, W.H. Allen and Company. Upon her return to the United States, Cross worked at Young and Rubicam, a Madison Avenue advertising firm, before goin ...more
“As for will, woman should be considered superior to man for Eve ate of the apple for love of knowledge and learning, but Adam ate of it merely because she asked him.” 65 likes
“There was always a way, when one knew what one wanted.” 38 likes
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