Juliet Barker Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress DC102.B275 2012 | Dewey Decimal 944.026
Barker tells the dramatic story of the thirty years when England ruled France at the point of a sword. Henry V’s second invasion of France in 1417 launched a campaign that would place the crown of France on an English head. The appearance of a visionary peasant girl, Joan of Arc, was able to halt the English advance, but not for long.
Why are contemporary secular theorists so frequently drawn to saints, martyrs, and questions of religion? Why has Joan of Arc fascinated some of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century? In a book that faces crucial issues in both critical and feminist inquiry, Françoise Meltzer uses the story of Joan as a guide for reading the postmodern nostalgia for a body that is intact and transparent. She argues that critics who place excessive emphasis on opposition and difference remain blind to their nostalgia for the pre-Cartesian idea that the body and mind are the same.
Engaging a number of theorists, and alternating between Joan's historical and cultural context, Meltzer also explores the ways in which postmodern thinkers question subjectivity. She argues that the way masculine subjects imagine Joan betrays their fear of death and necessitates the role of women as cultural others: enigmatic, mysterious, dark, and impossible. As such, Joan serves as a useful model of the limits and risks of subjectivity. For Meltzer, she is both the first modern and the last medieval figure. From the ecclesial jury that burned her, to the theorists of today who deny their attraction to the supernatural, the philosophical assumptions that inform Joan's story, as Meltzer ultimately shows, have changed very little.
Interrogation Of Joan Of Arc
Karen Sullivan University of Minnesota Press, 1999 Library of Congress DC104.S85 1999 | Dewey Decimal 944.026092
A radical reassessment of the trial of Joan of Arc that gives a new sense of Joan in her time.
The transcripts of Joan of Arc's trial for heresy at Rouen in 1431 and the minutes of her interrogation have long been recognized as our best source of information about the Maid of Orleans. Historians generally view these legal texts as a precise account of Joan's words and, by extension, her beliefs. Focusing on the minutes recorded by clerics, however, Karen Sullivan challenges the accuracy of the transcript. In The Interrogation of Joan of Arc, she re-reads the record not as a perfect reflection of a historical personality's words, but as a literary text resulting from the collaboration between Joan and her interrogators.
Sullivan provides an illuminating and innovative account of Joan's trial and interrogation, placing them in historical, social, and religious context. In the fifteenth century, interrogation was a method of truth-gathering identified not with people like Joan, who was uneducated, but with clerics, like those who tried her. When these clerics questioned Joan, they did so as scholastics educated at the University of Paris, as judges and assistants to judges, and as pastors trained in hearing confessions.
The Interrogation of Joan of Arc traces Joan's conflicts with her interrogators not to differing political allegiances, but to fundamental differences between clerical and lay cultures. Sullivan demonstrates that the figure depicted in the transcripts as Joan of Arc is a complex, multifaceted persona that results largely from these cultural differences. Discerning and innovative, this study suggests a powerful new interpretive model and redefines our sense of Joan and her time.
"This compact new book by Karen Sullivan is cause for considerable enthusiasm. Sullivan's fresh readings of key points in the condemnation trial of Joan of Arc of 1431 make a clear case for the enhanced understanding afforded by the application of theoretical constructs to well-known documents such as the transcripts of the Rouen trial. Her incontestable accomplishment is to lay bare the various strands of the inquisitorial mindset." Arthuriana
"Sullivan's juxtaposition of medieval and modern interrogation techniques is eerily illuminating. Sullivan's main conclusion is that two irreducibly opposed cultures confronted each other in Joan's trial: learned and popular, written and oral, clerical and lay, Latin and vernacular. Nothing in Sullivan's careful construction of her case for opposed cultures and discourses prepares us for her chilling conclusion: that Joan finally yielded to her interrogators and 'started accepting the truth as they had always wanted her to accept it'. Sullivan refers here not to Joan's recantation, a week before her death, which she revoked within days, but to her frame of mind throughout that final week. Against the-comforting-orthodoxy that after the revocation Joan reaffirmed the convictions she had maintained during her trial, Sullivan argues that her revocation was only partial, that in the end she surrendered. This is the most impressive part of an arresting book. It is also the bit that matters most." London Review of Books
Karen Sullivan is assistant professor of literature at Bard College.
The Trial of Joan of Arc
Daniel Hobbins Harvard University Press, 2005 Library of Congress KJV130.J625P7613 2005 | Dewey Decimal 262.92
No account is more critical to our understanding of Joan of Arc than the contemporary record of her trial in 1431. Convened at Rouen and directed by bishop Pierre Cauchon, the trial culminated in Joan's public execution for heresy. The trial record, which sometimes preserves Joan's very words, unveils her life, character, visions, and motives in fascinating detail. Here is one of our richest sources for the life of a medieval woman.
This new translation, the first in fifty years, is based on the full record of the trial proceedings in Latin. Recent scholarship dates this text to the year of the trial itself, thereby lending it a greater claim to authority than had traditionally been assumed. Contemporary documents copied into the trial furnish a guide to political developments in Joan's career—from her capture to the attempts to control public opinion following her execution.
Daniel Hobbins sets the trial in its legal and historical context. In exploring Joan's place in fifteenth-century society, he suggests that her claims to divine revelation conformed to a recognizable profile of holy women in her culture, yet Joan broke this mold by embracing a military lifestyle. By combining the roles of visionary and of military leader, Joan astonished contemporaries and still fascinates us today.
Obscured by the passing of centuries and distorted by the lens of modern cinema, the story of the historical Joan of Arc comes vividly to life once again.