Item description for Joan of Arc (Penguin Lives) by Mary Gordon...
With the passion and grace that mark her bestselling novels of women and faith, Mary Gordon contemplates one of history's earliest and most powerful female martyrs
Eternally fascinating, an enigma no less in our time than in her own, Joan of Arc has haunted Gordon's consciousness since childhood. Who was this girl who came from nowhere, supported an equivocal cause, triumphed for a scant few months, failed as a soldier, vacillated about her vision, died in agony, was refused canonization for five hundred years, yet, ponders Gordon, "stands alone in our imagination for the single-minded triumph of the she--and it must be a she--who feared nothing, knew herself right, and chosen of the Lord?"
Joan of Arc penetrates the popular cultural icon to examine the vulnerability of a woman forced by her mission into the public world of men, from her first march at the head of the French soldiery at the age of seventeen to her capture by the British in 1430, from her vilification as a witch to the formidable legacy of her struggle. Only Gordon--a storyteller the San Francisco Chronicle calls "scintillating"--could breathe life into a figure so ethereal, so puzzling, so human.
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Studio: Viking Adult
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.5" Width: 4.9" Height: 0.8" Weight: 0.45 lbs.
Release Date Mar 31, 2000
Publisher Viking Adult
ISBN 0670885371 ISBN13 9780670885374 UPC 051488019954
Availability 0 units.
More About Mary Gordon
Edmund Wilson (1895-1972) was a novelist, memoirist, playwright, journalist, poet, and editor but it is as a literary critic that he is most highly regarded. Mary Gordon's most recent novel is "Spending."
Mary Gordon currently resides in New York, in the state of New York. Mary Gordon was born in 1949.
Reviews - What do customers think about Joan of Arc (Penguin Lives)?
Noah's Wife? Dec 15, 2006
La Pucelle is not well served here. This is a pretty mediocre, superficial treatment of Joan's life. Gordon brings a novelist's flair to what amounts to a somewhat stream-of-consciousness extended essay. Gordon likes Shaw's play, SAINT JOAN, and you can see how Shaw's view of Joan's voices/religious identity clearly shaped Gordon's perspective. Stick with Regine Pernoud's various books on Joan, which are superior in every aspect to this flawed offering.
Very brief and sometimes even boring! Nov 16, 2006
Even being a brief book, the writer accomplished the hard task of turning Joan's life into a sometimes boring narrative. Anyway, if you're looking to start knowing the basics, this is a good book to start.
The chpater at the end where the writer spent time writing about dramatization in books and movies about Joan's life is utter useless, in my opinion is totally desnecessary and the worst part of hte book.
Also, do not expect detailed accounts of the battles.
not the best book i have ever read, but it was good. Nov 14, 2005
In this book, Mary Gordon brings Joan's story to life. I can see that she really understands the character of Joan but does more than just tell her story. She explores the mystery that people saw in Joan. Such as the contradictions and mysterious desires that propelled her from obscurity to glory. I began to understand what drove Joan to do all the magnificent things she did. Mary Gordon tells this story in a way that makes me feel like she actually knew Joan and her feelings. She uncovers those feelings and created a better understanding of the mystery of The Maid of Lorraine.
I have never heard the story of Joan's life depicted in such a descriptive manner. Mary Gordon told Joan's story and makes it some what adventurous. I learned a lot from this book but there were some things that could have improved. I think she should have made it more suspenseful and should have added more action. She had quotes and really didn't create it in a story form. It would have enjoyed this book more if these qualities would have been added. But over all it was a heart warming, emotional story. Kayla,lake havasu city,15
Mary Makes Joan Look Meaningless and Mean! Nov 12, 2005
It's a bad mistake to trust Mary Gordon to tell the objective truth about anything. This is a woman who sneers at democracy and bashes men for a living. Predictably, she reinvents Joan of Arc in her own image. That is to say, she imagines Joan as a sex-hating, social climbing fascist who despises her own humble origins and drools over the aristocracy.
Don't believe me? Check out the interminable passage about how Joan never menstruated. That's Mary Gordon's idea of "purity."
Joan's real purity came from caring about her family, her friends, and her country, and giving her life for them. But Mary Gordon dismisses Joan's family with a sneer, saying they were "one more thing she had to escape from." Tells you a lot about Mary Gordon's feelings about the old neighborhood (The Irish are so frightfully vulgar in Queens, my dear.) Tells you nothing about Joan of Arc.
Then there's the problem of men. Common sense tells you that Joan of Arc got along well with soldiers, that she brought out the best in them simply by believing that even the roughest character was capable of compassion and decency. Boy oh boy, is that beyond Mary Gordon's comprehension! Men are pigs, you see, and they betrayed Joan of Arc. Uh, yeah. Only the amazing thing is that they ever followed her in the first place! Joan worked miracles because she believed in men.
Mary Gordon ought to try it sometime.
What's not to like? Oct 7, 2005
The Penguin Lives series are not traditional biographies. They are short essays on the meanings and mysteries of a person's life, at the time they lived and in the present for us. They are for people (like me) who would not, could not read an 900 page book containing every detail of Joan's life, times and trial. There are plenty of those big biographies out there if you need them. But for people who want a little thoughtful insight on how a teenage girl in 1431 was able to accomplish the unheard of, unprecedented things she did, this book is perfect. This is a book I will always keep and reread.