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Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc [Kindle Edition]

Mark Twain
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Mark Twain's work on Joan of Arc is titled in full Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, by the Sieur Louis de Conte who is identified further as Joan's page and secretary. The work is fictionally presented as a translation from the manuscript by Jean Francois Alden, or, in the words of the published book, "Freely Translated out of the Ancient French into Modern English from the Original Unpublished Manuscript in the National Archives of France".

De Conte is a fictionalized version of Joan of Arc's page Louis de Contes, and provides narrative unity to the story. He is presented as an individual who was with Joan during the three major phases of her life - as a youth in Domremy, as the commander of Charles' army on military campaign, and as a defendant at the trial in Rouen. The book is presented as a translation by Alden of de Conte's memoirs, written in his later years for the benefit of his descendants.

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Product Description


Written as a personal memoir by her secretary and companion, Mark Twain's story of Joan of Arc follows the experiences of an inspired peasant girl who led a beleaguered France from victory to victory.

About the Author

Mark Twain was born Samuel Clemens in Missouri in 1835. He wrote some of the most enduring works of American fiction, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He died in 1910.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 854 KB
  • Print Length: 355 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,200,311 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Mark Twain is the pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835 - 1910). He was born and brought up in the American state of Missouri and, because of his father's death, he left school to earn his living when he was only twelve. He was a great adventurer and travelled round America as a printer; prospected for gold and set off for South America to earn his fortune. He returned to become a steam-boat pilot on the Mississippi River, close to where he had grown up. The Civil War put an end to steam-boating and Clemens briefly joined the Confederate army - although the rest of his family were Unionists! He had already tried his hand at newspaper reporting and now became a successful journalist. He started to use the alias Mark Twain during the Civil War and it was under this pen name that he became a famous travel writer. He took the name from his steam-boat days - it was the river pilots' cry to let their men know that the water was two fathoms deep.

Mark Twain was always nostalgic about his childhood and in 1876 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was published, based on his own experiences. The book was soon recognised as a work of genius and eight years later the sequel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, was published. The great writer Ernest Hemingway claimed that 'All modern literature stems from this one book.'

Mark Twain was soon famous all over the world. He made a fortune from writing and lost it on a typesetter he invented. He then made another fortune and lost it on a bad investment. He was an impulsive, hot-tempered man but was also quite sentimental and superstitious. He was born when Halley's Comet was passing the Earth and always believed he would die when it returned - this is exactly what happened.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visions, virtue and victimization 9 Aug. 2005
By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME
For much of the world, it is George Bernard Shaw's "Saint Joan" that typifies the French heroine of the Hundred Years' War. Overshadowed by the controversies surrounding "Huckleberry Finn", Twain's version of the Maid of Orleans is too infrequently read. Yet it was his own favourite among the rich production of his writings. The reason is clear: Twain shed all the feelings he held about monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church to write a portrayal in the best Romantic tradition. Whether the reader is aware of Twain's views or not, the way he tells Joan's story remains vivid and compelling.
Twain was fascinated by the brevity of Joan's effective career. In the short space of just over a year, this girl's sense of mission carried her, and her followers, through a succession of victories. As he relates in this tale, it was her inspiration that turned the French nation from a defeated people to one marked for liberation. He shows how the populace took to her almost from the day she launched her effort. Freeing her native land from "the English yoke" meant more than military prowess. It was her wit and persistence which won her followers and converted hardened soldiers to her cause. Behind the scenes, however, corrupt court officials and a Church holding her role in deep suspicion impaired her frequently. Twain makes her almost a genius at evading their machinations or turning them into her supporters.
Twain says "this untrained young creature's genius for war was wonderful". He has her proving it by leading her troops in frantic assaults without ever killing a man. His portrayal of the dichotomy of a general unable to kill is magnificent - no other word will do. He shows her compassion for wounded enemies and her employing a convicted deserter into her ranks.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book about an extraordinary person 3 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
A master storyteller tells the tale of one of the most remarkable persons in known history. How a young, illiterate farm girl became commander-in-chief of France's armed forces at the age of 17; leading her army, which had become accustomed to defeat, to victory after victory, putting a reluctant king on his thrown and in the process, for a brief time, becoming the living embodiment of France to its people.
It is a story of Joan's courage, intelligence and most of all her unswerving faith in her destiny and in her God, and how in the last year of her brief life she stood totally alone against her persecutors, whose sole objective was to have her die by fire.
Twain's admiration for her shines through every page, and the more I learn about Joan of Arc, the more I share his admiration.
This is a great book, and a must read for anyone interested in Joan of Arc.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It was a beautiful story. 2 Nov. 1998
By A Customer
I had not read any books on Joan of Arc, and was not terribly interested to either. I just picked it up because I thought it was weird for Mark Twain to have written it, so different from all the other books he had written. It was his greatest achievement and that he knew it shows in every page. She is brought to life, and the incredible, impossible, improbable accomplishments of Joan are believable and simply told. I loved it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The poor young thing is demented." 18 July 2008
A paean to the bravery and spirit of Joan of Arc, this novel by Mark Twain is also his most scholarly, having taken twelve years to write. Clearly fascinated by Joan's "voices" and her sense of mission, Twain delves into her religious passion and her belief that God has chosen her to free France from England and restore the Dauphin to the throne. Often focusing on the arguments and trials in which Joan participates throughout her life, Twain shows her childhood attempt to "save the fairies," her struggle to become general of France, and ultimately, her defense against heresy and sorcery. Through these, Twain attempts to reconcile her spiritual commitment with the tumultuous temporal world in which she is engaged.

Born in Domremy in 1412, seventy-five years after the beginning of the Hundred Years War, Joan, an Armagnac, supports the isolated Dauphin, son of Charles VI; another faction supports the Duke of Burgundy, allied with the British. When Joan is fifteen, her angelic voices tell her she will lead God's armies, win back France, and restore the Dauphin. By the time she is seventeen she is General-in-Chief of France. After lifting the siege of Orleans, achieving many victories, and finally, standing beside the Dauphin at his coronation, she is, however, captured by the Burgundians. Sold to the English, she is later surrendered to an Inquisition in Rouen for trial as a heretic and sorceress. The Dauphin fails to intervene, and at age nineteen she is burned at the stake.

Twain creates a fast-paced story about this tumultuous period, creating a series of repeating characters who anchor Joan's story from the time of childhood until her death.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, moving, flawed. 30 Jun. 1999
By A Customer
I am very happy to have read this noble and inspiring work, and maybe that should be considered the bottom line. However, I did feel that it succeeded on some levels far, far better than others. In order to understand where this work succeeds and where it falls short, I think the first thing to note is that Twain seems to have accepted uncritically (and faithfully relayed) every glowing thing his research turned up regarding Joan's words and deeds. By that, I mean that almost every dramatically important thing said or done by Twain's Joan can be traced to the testimony of her contemporaries. If we find it plausible that her enthusiastic contemporary allies and admirers stretched the truth here and there, one suspects that Twain the story-teller nevertheless approves. I believe it was Twain's intent to drop this semi-historical "Joan as legend" into his work intact, rather than risk reconstructing the human Joan to his own specifications. There is actually much to admire in this approach. However, it does render Twain's Joan seriously out of phase with his other characters. She is so omniscient and devoid of human frailties as to render her somewhat flat and colorless. Her almost unerring judgement and profuse gift of prophecy often cause her to blend into the backdrop of events. Here she seems less a human being (however sublime) than a force of nature. Twain's true characters become satellites circling a brilliant but dismayingly distant sun. On the other hand, the interplay between these supporting characters is engaging (if sometimes outrageous); and the dialogue is perceptive and lively. Another saving grace is Twain's descriptive gift. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good book
Published 2 months ago by fabian rizq nandaru
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fantastic book, quite inspirational.
Published 11 months ago by Richard
2.0 out of 5 stars Mark Twain may have liked it...
Mark Twain considered this work to be the best material he ever produced. With almost reverent respect for Twain, I beg to differ. Read more
Published on 9 Aug. 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars An American masterpiece
This book is a work of great beauty. It makes me very interested in Mark Twain himself, to choose this subject and create this wonderful masterpiece.
Published on 3 Aug. 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Mark Twain's BEST book ever!!!!!!!!!
This inspiring book introduced me to the thrilling life of St. Joan of Arc. I am only in sixth grade and I loved it!! Read more
Published on 11 July 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars the most life changing book I have ever read!!!
I would just like to say that this book is truly remarkable, and deserves a lot more credit than that which it is receiving. Read more
Published on 10 July 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!!
It is, quite simply, the best book I have read in years. Her story is without equal. That, coupled with Mr. Twain's talent for words, produced a work that touched my soul.
Published on 7 July 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars An enchanting story of the heroine's triumphs and tragedies.
It is an inspiring novel of faith, virtue, joy, and loss. If I had not read this, I would have missed arguably the greatest rendition of her life ever written, or rather, the... Read more
Published on 25 May 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I have ever read!
Mark Twain's Joan of Arc is the best book I have ever read. It is remarkable to think that this young, uneducated teenager had the courage to convince the king to give her an... Read more
Published on 19 Mar. 1999
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