Cover image for Joan of Arc : her story
Joan of Arc : her story
Pernoud, Régine, 1909-1998.
Uniform Title:
Jeanne d'Arc. English
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
xxii, 304 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DC103 .P37813 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
DC103 .P37813 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
DC103 .P37813 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Biography

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The distinguished English translation of the best selling French edition now considered the standard biography of Joan of Arc.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Historian Adams has performed a great service by translating and revising this best-selling French chronicle of the life and legacy of Joan of Arc. Esteemed historian Pernoud wasn't terribly interested in the Maid of Orleans until she read an account of Joan's nullification trial and discovered how much more compelling the historical Joan is than the figure of legend and myth. To make that distinction clear, Pernoud and her coauthor chose not to construct a chronological narrative but to write "the documented life of Joan as it unfolded in time." The story, therefore, begins in 1429 with the first written account of the divinely inspired young woman who took grave matters of war and state into her innocent hands and transformed the world, and then follows the ink trail to coverage of her betrayal, murder, and posthumous vindication. Pernoud and Clin take pains to portray Joan not only as a "glorious military heroine" --their descriptions of Joan before the troops are electrifying--but as a political prisoner subjected to torture, an unjust trial, and a hasty and still shocking execution. The wealth of background information Adams provides brings into high relief the mysteries and tragedies of Joan of Arc's unique life, one that continues to fascinate and disturb. --Donna Seaman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Joan of Arc means many things to many people: the incarnation of French patriotism, a Fascist mascot for anti-Semitism, the symbol of working-class resistance, the ultimate proto-feminist, the political prisoner, the innocent woman persecuted for heresy. In order to separate legend from fact, her uses from herself, Pernoud and Clin have ingeniously turned the mystifying question "Who is Joan of Arc?" into the more manageable "What is [her] historical record?" Joan's history was brief: a year of fighting, a year of imprisonment. In 1429, inspired by holy "voices," she traveled to the failing dauphin Charles (later King Charles VII) and declared that she would free the city of Orleans from his English enemies and lead him to his coronation. Shortly after fulfilling both prophesies, she was captured by the English, who tried her for heresy and burned her at the stake. In 1455, 24 years after her death, a new trial concluded that the English inquisition was improperly conducted and nullified its decision. Throughout their descriptions of these events, the authors draw upon copious letters and trial transcripts to present a vivid portrait of the young woman whose intelligence, courage, determination and unshakable faith astonished all of Europe. A brief introduction and a section of profiles of the major players make this thorough book accessible to the general reader. Though the writing is sometimes dry, Pernoud and Clin do an admirable job of bringing clarity to their complicated subject. This is the first English translation of a book published in 1986 in France. 12 illustrations, 8 maps. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This book fails to live up to its title. Although British journalists O'Malley and Craig demonstrate that the Nixon administration never acted to reverse the 1974 Greek coup on Cyprus or the subsequent Turkish military intervention (despite indications that such a chain of events might take place), this is a far cry from proving--as they claim to--that the administration conspired with Athens to partition the island. In the absence of any direct evidence, their case for conspiracy is circumstantial at best. A more plausible explanation for Kissinger's inaction is that, because of the island's geostrategic importance, the United States was not averse to an eventual division of Cyprus between Greece and Turkey. A partition would help to alleviate tensions between key NATO allies, secure NATO's eastern flank against Soviet encroachment, and assure the island's continued availability as a U.S. intelligence base. It was likely not skullduggery but opportunism that induced Washington to stand aside during the events of 1974, and that such inaction does not constitute a conspiracy in any meaningful sense. Not recommended.--James Holmes, Ph.D. candidate, Fletcher Sch. of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts Univ., Medford, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One HER STORY BEGINS The city of Orléans, the bridge between northern and southern France, was sorely besieged by a large English force from October 12, 1428, to the following May. Its ruler, Duke Charles of Orleans (see Part II, Section 31), had been a prisoner in England since the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. The city's defense was commanded by his half-brother John, the Bastard of Orléans (later to be count of Dunois, II, 16). Over those seven months, reinforcements came sporadically to the aid of both the besieged French and the besieging English. Inconclusive skirmishing failed to mask the steady tipping of the balance in favor of the English. By March 1429, Orléans seemed ready to fall at the next serious push. Then, in early March, came the rumor that a maid from the kingdom's eastern frontier had ridden to meet the Dauphin Charles (II, I), promising to restore his kingdom to him by saving Orléans and by working other wonders. Joan of Arc enters the historical record; her story begins. "They say that a maid passed by the city of Gien, a maid who presented herself to the noble dauphin to raise the siege of Orleans and to lead the dauphin to Reims so that he might be anointed." This "they say" in February 1429 is the first appearance in the historical record of the woman we now call Joan of Arc.     These lines were written by one of the principal characters in the opening scenes of Joan's drama, the man best situated to be informed about it: John the Bastard, better known by his later title, the count of Dunois. His testimony from Joan's nullification trial continues: "Since I was the guardian of the city of Orléans, being lieutenant-general once the war began, I sent to the king's court the sire de Villars, who was seneschal of Beaucaire, and Jamet du Tillet, who later was bailiff of the Vermandois, for fuller information concerning this maiden."     On the fate of Orléans hung that of the entire kingdom. Orléans was the key to the south of France. It was the key to Bourges, the stronghold of the dauphin Charles, known contemptuously to his opponents as "the king of Bourges." It was the key to Auxerre, where Burgundian troops were stationed, ready to take up arms in what might well be the final move to checkmate the dauphin. Past Bourges ran the road to Guyenne, where the English were at home, where they did not need to behave like conquerors, since Guyenne was the core of the fief of Aquitaine, the legacy of Eleanor of Aquitaine, and so had belonged to the kings of England, her descendants, for more than 300 years.     The Bastard of Orléans was defending the city of his half brother, Charles, duke of Orléans (II, 31), who was at that time being held as a prisoner somewhere beyond the English Channel. The Bastard was recovering with difficulty from the wound he had received in the ill-fated attack against an English convoy bringing reinforcements to the besiegers--the shaft of an arbalest hit him in the foot almost at the beginning of the attack; two archers were barely able to free him and put him back on his horse, after which the engagement proved disastrous for the French. Several of his most effective companions remained on the battlefield--Louis de Rochcchouart, Guillame d'Albret, and the valiant Scotsman John Stuart of Darnley, who was responsible for the rout, because he began the attack without waiting for the arrival of French rearguard cavalry reinforcements. This move against the handful of men escorting the English relief convoy collapsed in total confusion. The English enemy taunted the French for this "Day of the Herrings" (see III, 7)--the convoy consisted mostly of herring pickled in brine destined for the English army in that Lenten season. In Orleans, the defenders' morale sank further. The count of Clermont's reputation had already been compromised by his delay in arriving on the field of the Battle of the Herrings on the pivotal twelfth of February 1429; he left Orléans leading his troops in serious disorder. Several captains imitated him, including, despite his constant readiness for battle, Étienne de Vignolles, better known as "La Hire" (II, 22).     The fate of Orléans now seemed sealed. The Bastard, powerless to reverse it, recalled the fine days of the siege of Montargis two years earlier. With the same La Hire, he had swiftly dislodged the English, who, under the command of their captain, Salisbury (II, 38), had begun to surround the city. On September 5, 1427, Salisbury and his men were forced to abandon the field. Desiring vengeance, the same captain had come one year later to besiege Orléans, where he installed in orderly sequence, before each of the city's gates, like so many bolts, his fortified bastides--temporary fortifications, usually of wooden construction, connected with earthworks, set up to block a defensive structure, such as a tower or gateway. They could be as small as blockhouses or grow to have turrets and gates of their own. Some of the larger bastides could house sizable garrisons of troops.     Distrust of the defender of Orléans increased. The inhabitants had gone so far as to send an embassy to the duke of Burgundy (II, 3), asking him to spare the city since its lord was a prisoner. This appeal to what survived of chivalric sentiments was their last hope; in the age of chivalry, one would never have besieged a castle or a city whose "natural lord" was a prisoner. This popular appeal to the enemy was yet one further humiliation for John the Bastard, who substituted for his brother as defender.     At this critical juncture in February 1429, John the Bastard had leisure to reflect upon his situation. Immobilized by his wound, he found himself in an encircled city, with all but one of its exits closed up. The inhabitants' immediate concern was food. Relating the events of those days, the Journal of the Siege of Orléans records hardly anything other than the arrival of fresh provisions: One day, that was "seven horses loaded with herring and other foodstuffs"; two days later, nine horses came, also loaded with foodstuffs, entering by the Burgundy Gate at the east end of the city--the only gate that the English besiegers had not cut off. Everyone remembered stories of the siege of Rouen ten years before, during which inhabitants had been reduced to eating horses, dogs, cats, and rats before finally opening the city's gates to the victors.     The siege strategy at Orleans was the same as it had been for Rouen. The English applied it slowly and methodically since they knew that their most powerful allies--famine and discouragement--were to be found inside the city.     Shortly after his arrival at the head of the English forces, Salisbury, an experienced man of war, attacked the "Tourelles," those fortifications that defended the approach to the bridge on the left bank of the Loire River. Those two towers allowed whoever held them to close off the southern end of the imposing, nineteen-arch stone bridge that rested on one of the midpoint islands of the river. The city of Orléans was itself a bridge across which the two Frances, the north and the south, communicated.     The people of Orléans were subject to offensive action from July 1428, when the English occupied the small villages of the Beauce one after the other, including Angerville, Toury, Janville, Artenay, and Patay. Once Olivet was taken by one of Salisbury's companions, John de la Pole (II, 41)--known to the French army as La Poule (III, 4)--on October 7, the people of Orléans acted on their acceptance of the inevitable. They began to destroy their own buildings on the left bank of the Loire: the Portereau, along with the church and convent of the Augustinians. Such self-destruction had become practically routine. Since the disaster of Agincourt in 1415 the population of Orléans had been living in a state of alert. The financial registers of the city and its fortress testify to the way that this condition had become a part of daily life: the dispatching of messengers (that is, spies--often women); the coming and going of horsemen who surveyed the movements of mercenary troops, especially toward Étampes and Sully-sur-Loire; the strengthening of the watch on the city's walls; the purchasing of arbalest shafts and defensive artillery (paid for by a rise in taxes). Worse was yet to come. The old remembered that it had been necessary in 1359 to destroy the venerable church of Saint-Aignan, site of an early skirmish between French and English troops. This ancient collegial church had its roots in the region's Christianity. All newly installed bishops of Orleans visited it to venerate the relics of their great predecessor, St. Aignan, who in earlier times had defended the city against the attacks of Attila the Hun. The basilica was rebuilt in 1376 only on the orders of the wise King Charles V, well after the Peace of Brétigny, which ended the first phase of the Hundred Years War.     Public memory remained equally sensitive to attacks and alerts, sometimes caused by bands of mercenary troops, sometimes by the raids of English captains. Based in the surrounding territory, they fell like eagles on their prey: on Olivet, on the abbey of Saint-Bénoît-sur-Loire, or on Orléans itself, as on the day of the "Great Fear" in 1418, when all were certain that the siege would soon commence, for the English were then attacking both Rouen and Paris.     The English defeat at Montargis in 1427--"the first moment of happiness that came my way," the dauphin Charles had cried from his refuge at Bourges--gave Orléans some fleeting hope. Yet it soon became necessary to destroy the suburbs once again, to accommodate refugees within the city, and to make other preparations for siege. At the very moment that the English attacked the Tourelles, they destroyed the twelve water mills that the city used to make its flour. Very quickly, inside Orléans itself, people organized the eleven horse-powered mills that replenished the city's food supply.     Hostilities recommenced on October 17, 1428. One of the three bombards that the English had just installed at Saint-Jean-le-Blanc, near the Augustinian convent that had earlier been abandoned, caused some damage in the city and killed "a woman named Belle near the postern gate of Chesneau." Five days later, the watchtower bell sounded the alarm once more. The citizens of Orléans destroyed one of the arches of the bridge and fortified the islet of Belle-Croix, on which the bridge rested. They would no longer defend the fort of the Tourelles, to which they set fire. The siege progressed with English bastides methodically set up on the principal highways: the bastide named Saint-Laurent near the route to Blois; those that the English called "London" and "Paris" on the routes to Châteaudun and Paris. Another bastide, "Rouen," served as a connection between those two. The bastide of Saint-Loup blocked the way to Gien at its crossroads with the route to Pithiviers--but on that side, to the east, the blockade would never become complete, despite the invaders' best efforts.     Such was the situation that the Bastard of Orleans discovered on October 25, 1428, when he arrived at his half brother's city. He quickly undertook new strategic arrangements. He had some of the churches and buildings outside of the ramparts destroyed--Saint-Loup, Saint-Euverte, Saint-Gervais, Saint-Marc--and had artillery installed at key points. Some reinforcements came his way with the arrival of Louis de Culant, at the head of 200 fighting men, and Charles de Bourbon, count of Clermont (II, 11), on January 30. The Scotsman John Stuart came on February 8, but the disastrous "Day of the Herrings," on February 12, put an end to his hopes. The citizens of Orléans sent a delegation to the duke of Burgundy. Poton de Xaintrailles (II, 44) and Pierre d'Orgui proposed to Duke Philip the Good (II, 3) that he take the city under his command on the condition of guaranteeing its neutrality--a humiliating development for the Bastard but understandable on the part of the inhabitants, who felt themselves abandoned; they were, after all, making an appeal to a representative of the royal house of France, the cousin of their natural protector, the duke of Orléans.     The negotiations failed. The duke of Burgundy would have been delighted to acquire Orléans without striking a blow, but his ally Bedford, the English regent (II, 9), opposed such an acquisition vehemently: "I would be mighty angry to cut down the bushes so that someone else could get the little birds from the branches!" At least, the duke reestablished contact with some of his men fighting alongside the English besiegers. How much difference did this Burgundian garrison make, or what relief might its departure produce? It may have amounted to little more than a few men-at-arms enlisted among the troops paid by English captains.     The fate of Orléans would surely be settled in a few days, perhaps a few hours, since a decisive offensive could be launched at any minute.     Under these circumstances, increasingly urgent reports of an unexpected rescue sent from heaven and conveyed by an unknown girl said to be called "Joan the Maid" were particularly attractive: Only divine intervention, people said, could save the city. The people of Orleans would later come to explain the feeling that seized them once the rumor about the Maid began to circulate. As the Journal of the Siege of Orleans remarks: "It was said ... that she had been sent by God to raise the siege of the city. The inhabitants found themselves so hard-pressed by necessity due to the enemies who besieged them that they did not know whom to beg for remedy, if not God Himself."     This report did not comfort the Bastard, an experienced warrior. Even the arrival of two contingents of reinforcement, one French and the other Scottish, had not brought him relief. He testified later that he remained skeptical of this purportedly heaven-sent relief until months later, when he actually met Joan the Maid. But, because he was a pious man, he sent two trustworthy companions to check on this unusual rumor. Since the king was at Chinon, the Bastard sent Archambaut de Villars and Jamet du Tillet there, where they were also likely to find Raoul de Gaucourt (II, 18), governor of Orléans, who had gone to Chinon to inform the dauphin of the city's desperate condition. The Bastard's two envoys soon returned to Orléans to report. The Bastard testified about that conversation in Joan's nullification trial: They returned from the king's presence, reporting publicly to me, in the presence of all the people in Orléans who yearned to learn the troth concerning this maiden's arrival, that they had seen the aforesaid maid arrive at the king's court in the city of Chinon themselves. They said that the king himself had not wished to receive her; it was deemed appropriate that this maid wait two days before she should be permitted to come into the king's presence, even though she had said again and again that she came to raise the siege of Orléans and to lead the noble dauphin to Reims, so that he could be anointed king, demanding constantly that she be given men, horses, and arms. Jeanne la Pucelle, whom we call Joan of Arc (for a discussion of her name, see III, 1), here makes her entry into history.

Table of Contents

Regine PernoudJeremy duQuesnay AdamsJeremy duQuesnay AdamsJeremy duQuesnay Adams
Forewordp. xi
Prefacep. xv
Acknowledgmentsp. xxiii
Preludep. 1
Part I The Drama
1. Her Story Beginsp. 9
2. Joan Meets Her Dauphinp. 15
3. Joan and the Victory at Orleansp. 33
4. Her Dauphin Anointed King at Reimsp. 53
5. Intrigue, Frustration, and Capturep. 69
6. Joan the Prisonerp. 89
7. Joan's Trial and Execution at Rouenp. 103
8. The Verdict of Rouen Nullifiedp. 139
9. Joan as Memoryp. 159
Part II The Cast of Principal Characters (In Three Alphabetical Lists)
The Three Noble Princes
1. Charles VII, King of Francep. 167
2. Henry VI, King of England (and of France?)p. 168
3. Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundyp. 170
Their Subjects
4. John, Duke of Alenconp. 172
5. Rene the Good, Duke of Anjoup. 173
6. John IV, Count of Armagnacp. 174
7. Robert de Baudricourtp. 174
8. Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchesterp. 175
9. John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedfordp. 176
10. Jacques Boucherp. 177
11. Charles I, Duke of Bourbonp. 177
12. Jean de Brossep. 177
13. Regnault of Chartres, Archbishop of Reimsp. 178
14. Guillaume Desjardinsp. 178
15. Bertrand Du Guesclinp. 179
16. John, Count of Dunois, Bastard of Orleansp. 180
17. Robert de Flocquesp. 181
18. Raoul de Gaucourtp. 183
19. Jacques Gelup. 183
20. Jean le Charlier de Gersonp. 184
21. Perrinet Gressartp. 185
22. "La Hire," Etienne de Vignollesp. 187
23. Isabeau of Bavaria, Queen of Francep. 188
24. Isabelle of Portugal, Duchess of Burgundyp. 189
25. Georges de La Tremoillep. 190
26. Charles II (or I) the Bold, Duke of Lorrainep. 191
27. Joan of Luxembourgp. 191
28. John of Luxembourgp. 191
29. Louis of Luxembourgp. 192
30. Jean de Metzp. 193
31. Charles, Duke of Orleansp. 193
32. Christine de Pisanp. 197
33. Bertrand de Poulengyp. 197
34. Gilles de Laval, Baron de Raisp. 198
35. Friar Richardp. 198
36. Arthur de Richemontp. 198
37. Catherine de la Rochellep. 200
38. Thomas de Montacute, Earl of Salisburyp. 200
39. Thomas de Scalesp. 201
40. John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsburyp. 202
41. William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolkp. 203
42. Lionel, Bastard of Wandommep. 205
43. Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwickp. 205
44. Poton de Xaintraillesp. 206
Her Judges at Rouen
45. Jean Alespeep. 207
46. William of Alnwickp. 207
47. Jean Beauperep. 207
48. Boisguillaumep. 208
49. Pierre Cauchonp. 208
50. Thomas de Courcellesp. 210
51. Guillaume Erardp. 211
52. Jean d'Estivetp. 212
53. Jean Graverentp. 212
54. William Haitonp. 213
55. Robert Jolivetp. 213
56. Guillaume de La Chambrep. 213
57. Martin Ladvenup. 213
58. Jean de La Fontainep. 213
59. Jean Lemaitrep. 214
60. Nicolas Loiseleurp. 214
61. Jean de Maillyp. 215
62. Guillaume Manchonp. 215
63. Jean Massieup. 215
64. Pierre Mauricep. 216
65. Nicolas Midyp. 216
66. Pierre Migetp. 216
67. Jean de Rinelp. 216
68. Raoul Rousselp. 217
69. Nicolas de Venderesp. 217
Part III Issues and Images
1. Joan's Namep. 220
2. Joan's Familyp. 221
3. Joan as Royal Bastardp. 222
4. The Language of Joan of Arc and Her Contemporariesp. 222
5. Joan's Armorp. 224
6. Joan's Swordsp. 225
7. Orleans at the Time of the Siegep. 226
8. The Siege of Orleansp. 228
9. The Tax Exemption for the Inhabitants of Domremy and Greuxp. 230
10. Joan's Capture at Compiegnep. 231
11. The Abjuration Cedulap. 233
12. Joan Impostersp. 233
13. Trial Transcripts: The "Book of Poitiers" and the Date of the Latin Edition of the Condemnation Trial Transcriptp. 235
14. Joan of Arc in Theater and Operap. 237
15. Toward an Iconography of Joan of Arcp. 240
16. Joan of Arc in Folklore: The Orleans Festivalsp. 243
17. Beatification and Canonizationp. 245
18. Select Filmographyp. 245
I. The Letters of Joan of Arcp. 247
II. Chronology and Itineraryp. 265
III. Maps and Plansp. 275
France around 1430p. 275
Vaucouleursp. 276
The Route from Vaucouleurs to Chinonp. 277
Orleans during the Siegep. 278
From the Coronation to the Defeat at Parisp. 280
Compiegne at the Time of Joan's Capturep. 281
Joan's Itinerary as Prisonerp. 282
The Castle of Bouvreuil at Rouenp. 283
Topical Bibliographyp. 284
Bibliographyp. 286
Indexp. 295