Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (Paperback)
Dover Publications, 9780486424590, 352pp.
Publication Date: November 7, 2002
Regarded by many as the most luminous example of Mark Twain's work, this fictional biography of Joan of Arc was purportedly written by Joan's page and secretary -- Sieur Louis de Conte. (Twain's alter ego even shared the author's same initials -- S. L. C.) Told from the viewpoint of this lifelong friend, the historical novel is a panorama of stirring scenes and marvel of pageantry -- from Joan's early childhood in Domremy and her touching story of the voices, to the fight for Orleans, the taking of Tourelles and Jargeau, and the splendid march to Rheims.
But above all, the work is an amazing record that disclosed Twain's unrestrained admiration of the French heroine's nobility of character. Throughout his life, she remained his favorite historical figure -- "the most innocent, the most lovely, the most adorable child the ages have produced."
Completed when the author was nearly sixty, the book reveals a splendidly expressive side of Twain, who wrote, "I like the Joan of Arc best of all my books; & it is the best; I know it perfectly well. And besides, it furnished me seven times the pleasure afforded me by any of the others: 12 years of preparation & 2 years of writing. The others needed no preparation, & got none."
Matchless in its workmanship, this lesser work will charm -- and delightfully surprise -- admirers and devotees of the great American author.