Joan of Arc by Kathryn Harrison

Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured
Kathryn Harrison

Anchor Books

Revered and reviled in almost equal measure during her short tumultuous life, Joan of Arc is still a popular and contentious figure nearly six hundred years after her death.

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“Her legend and influence lives on with every generation . . .”

This young woman from the rural town of Domrémy (now Domrémy-la-Pucelle) in northeast France overthrew the expectations of society. Born into a moderately respectable peasant family, she escorted a prince to his consecration as King of France, and rallied a nation to arms against the hated English. Her open faith in God made her the inspiration of multitudes at a time when her people desperately needed a sign He had not forsaken them. She led armies to war and suffered wounds in action, yet shed no blood herself, and preserved her virtue amid the rough soldiery of her day. Joan lived life to the full in an age when women were supposed to know their place.

Written from the point of view of a Joan betrayed and facing death at the hands of a blatantly rigged English trial, Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured displays her strong faith, courage and unshakable self-confidence in the face of adversity. Her life is examined with reference to historical antecedents as well as the social view of her times, and note is made of the many versions of Joan la Pucelle (Joan the Maid) that have appeared through the centuries since her fiery death. Recorded in song, literature and later movies and plays, Joan as soldier and saint, overcoming the strictures on a woman’s life, plays a formidable role in the feminist movement of modern days. Her legend and influence lives on with every generation finding something in her life that inspires and drives change in their own society. In Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured, Kathryn Harrison does full justice to a truly remarkable woman.


Reviewer: Cindy A. Matthews