Mark Twain's Joan of Arc : an analysis of the background and original sources

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dc.contributor.advisor Newcomb, Robert H. en_US Nadeau, Lionel Carl en_US 2011-06-03T19:29:22Z 2011-06-03T19:29:22Z 1979 en_US 1979
dc.identifier LD2489.Z64 1979 .N33 en_US
dc.description.abstract This study shows in Twain's Joan a mosaic work of French history and American folk humor. It points to Twain as an unacknowledged historian and scholar who, despite his biases and misgivings from his previous books and from his sources, fashioned Joan's story for an American audience while he stayed abroad in Florence and Paris with his family. The study focuses upon the historical and literary merits of Twain's Joan through a detailed analysis of Twain's notations in his French and English sources (Berkeley). It shows that Twain as Louis de Conte, chronicler and minstrel, faithfully retold Joan's story from his sources. Twain's Joan of Arc represents the literary, historical, and religious achievement of an unacknowledged American scholar who showed an outstanding youth of character, integrity, and purity.Throughout the narrative in his book, Twain reflected Joan's page and secretary Louis de Conte as his persona in the dual role of chronicler and minstrel. Twain extended another dual role to his second narrator, the Paladin as entertainer and troubadour. Early in the story, Twain as Conte brought out the events of the Hundred Years' War which led to the betrayal of the French nation and the exile of the French Dauphin by the Treaty of Troyes. Conte retold these events as chronicler and minstrel from Gower and Sepet, notations at Berkeley. Other sources such as Fabre, Sepet, Wallon among others were either used or consulted. The study points and according to his notations in these sources. It is in his dual role that Conte narrated Joan's mission from her household to Vaucouleurs, Chinon, Orleans, Rheims, and St. Denis--covering Books I and II, from Chabannes's book and occasionally from Sepet's with key episodes from Michelet's Joan, according to Twain's notations at Berkeley.Conte retold the events at Chinon, Orleans, Patay, and Paris among others as a chronicler of history, but as minstrel he interwove the narrative with humor or sorrow in a rhythmic pattern of repetitions that imitated the style of the Chansons de Geste. The pattern is noticeable in the narration of the battle scenes at Orleans, Jargeau, and Patay, including the repetition of Joan's wounds in each encounter. Moreover, Twain as the Paladin reflected the minstrel of the Chansons de Geste who entertained the townspeople of Orleans with yarns substituted for the boastful French "gabs" used by knights to boost up their morale on the eve of battles. Twain later raised the role of the Paladin to a troubadour of Joan's era who praised the heroine in a lyrical poem, or Rondeaux, in the style of Charles d'Orleans, a poet of that era.This study shows that Twain used several French and English sources for Book III in which he dealt chiefly with the trial and death of Joan. Twain used three significant sources for the trial at Rouen; namely, Gower, Msgr. Ricard, and Michelet--according to the out Michelet's biases and misgivings. Hence the study mentions the out, however, that when there seemed to be a debatable viewpoint between Msgr. Ricard and Michelet, Twain favored Michelet as the final arbitrator. The study refers the serious reader or scholar to the critic Gustave Rudler who in his works on Michelet's Joan has pointed two different versions of Michelet's Joan, one written when Michelet was sympathetic towards the Church and the other (1873) as he turned anticlerical. Twain used the 1873 edition with its biases!The study points out that at the outset of the trial at Rouen Twain did not condemn the whole Catholic Hierarchy. Twain as Conte, chronicler and minstrel, merely caricatured evil men in Church positions who sought power and wealth first even at the expense of an innocent young girl. Conte showed that Joan at Rouen was a victim in the hands of the unscrupulous Pierre Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, who--according to Gower--had been bribed with the office of Archbishop of Rouen by Cardinal Winchester of England with the stipulation that Cauchon obtained from the trial Joan's excommunication as a witch and her death at the stake. Twain as Conte reflected well established traditions in French history and official documents in which Pierre Cauchon has been held as the main culprit, for he alone had the power to save or condemn Joan, according to Regine Pernoud-a reputable modern French historian. Conte as minstrel could hardly miss the opportunity of inventing puns based upon the French connotation of the man's name, because Cauchon indeed had shown himself an evil man. Moreover, ever since the Trial of Rehabilitation or retrial of Joan of Arc, Bishop Cauchon has been upheld by at least two Popes in their condemnation of that man. Instead, the Popes have honored Joan as a saint!The study shows that Twain held in contempt the French King and his courtiers, the French Clergy, and the French nation for having abandoned their national heroine to the enemy without even attempting to raise a ransom for her deliverance! Twain as Conte also questioned the "real motives" for the King's endeavors towards the Retrial of Joan since he had forgotten the maid for twenty years. Despite Twain's biases in several parts of the book, the study shows Twain's Joan as a serious work of an unacknowledged scholar for a virtuous youth--St. Joan of Arc! en_US
dc.format.extent 4, v, 454 leaves ; 28 cm. en_US
dc.source Virtual Press en_US
dc.subject.other Twain, Mark, 1835-1910. Personal recollections of Joan of Arc. en_US
dc.title Mark Twain's Joan of Arc : an analysis of the background and original sources en_US
dc.title.alternative Joan of Arc. en_US Thesis (D. Ed.) en_US
dc.identifier.cardcat-url en_US

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  • Doctoral Dissertations [3134]
    Doctoral dissertations submitted to the Graduate School by Ball State University doctoral candidates in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

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