Sunday, January 17, 2016

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc. Mark Twain. 1895/1896. 452 pages. [Source: Library]

Did I enjoy reading Mark Twain's Joan of Arc? Yes, very much. Though perhaps not quite as much as A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. But that isn't exactly fair to try to compare the two really; they are very different from one another.

Joan of Arc is narrated by Sieur Louis de Conte in his old age, 82 in the year 1492. He is attempting to tell the behind-the-scenes story of Joan of Arc. This telling begins in their childhood. He grew up with her, and, remained close to her and witnessed (almost) all the "big" events. He was even witness to her trials and served as a secretary or note-taker, I believe.

Is the book a comedy? Far from it. (Though there is that one scene about if a stomach can help in the committing of a crime that is funny. And also some great Paladin scenes. He's one of the companions--soldiers--and he's a STORYTELLER if ever there was.) Though a few asides from "the translator" (aka Mark Twain) do pack a little something. The book is properly a tragic history.

Some of my favorite quotes:
It was not my opinion; I think there is no sense in forming an opinion when there is no evidence to form it on. If you build a person without any bones in him he may look fair enough to the eye, but he will be limber and cannot stand up; and I consider that evidence is the bones of an opinion. 
And it is my thought that if one keep to the things he knows, and not trouble about the things which he cannot be sure about, he will have the steadier mind for it--and there is profit in that.
Discretion hasn't anything to do with brains; brains are an obstruction to it, for it does not reason, it feels. Perfect discretion means absence of brains. Discretion is a quality of the heart--solely a quality of the heart; it acts upon us through feeling.
Well, well a good and wholesome thing is a little harmless fun in this world; it tones a body up and keeps him human and prevents him from souring. 
© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Karen K. 10:31 AM  

I'd never heard of this one! I've really been meaning to read more Twain, so thanks for reminding me. His quotes are always delightful.

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