Helen Castor: Joan of Arc



Had another visionMemories of her were still fresh when Yolande arrived in Provence in the following year and when the young duchess travelled north to the valley of the Loire she herself ncountered another female visionary Jeanne Marie de Maill was a woman of noble birth who after her husband s death in 1362 had The Wee Free Men (Discworld, embraced a life of poverty and prayer as a recluse under the protection of a convent in ToursHer connections with the Angevin dynasty were so close that she stood godmother to one of Duchess Marie s sons Yolande s brother in law and she was twice granted an audience with the king first when Charles VI visited Tours in 1395 and again when she travelled to Paris in 1398Jeanne Marie spent time too with ueen Isabeau whom Jeanne Marie reprimanded for living in luxury while the people suffered and starved When Yolande met her she was already in her seventies but the two women spentnough time together that when Jeanne Marie died in 1414 Yolande was a witness at the canonisation hearingIt was good to see descriptions of Joan s battle tactics which were actually pretty repetitive but new to the conflict by aggressively taking the battle to the Kidnapped enemy when the Armagnacs had been too weary and disillusioned to do that for a long while When a GR friend read a book about the Hundred Years War a couple of months ago I wondered if Joan might have been a natural tactical genius in the same way as kids who are brilliant at chess Based on Castor s book that wasn t the case but she did seem to share some stereotypical traits with that type her adamancy that she was right her independent but repetitive thinking her disregard of gender norms and it s tooasy to see this All Quiet on the Western Front everywhere these days it all sounds a bit asperger s Not a concept of Joan I dver previously consideredThat was all interesting but plenty História do Rei Transparente else was lacking in the book I think a decent single volume study of Joan needs also to include the following What is known about daily life in villages like Domr my and for families like Joan s with a particularmphasis on how prolonged war affected them Best Mechanic Ever eg crop damage looting sons going to fight What were their interests innding the war duh and what if anything might sway them to one side or another More material about young women in medieval France western Europe and social attitudes held by and about them Perhaps about religion I felt the book did a decent job of communicating how suffused medieval society was with religion and how Dinosaur Dinners everything in life was seen through its lens but some reviews on here suggest that could have been communicated better to general readers And then there s THE issue that meant I wouldn t round the rating up to 4 stars because it s a central part of interpreting Joan because it relates to a significant social issue today and because Ixpect a historian of Castor s generation to do better than this lazy lack of interdisciplinary In His Blood enuiry That sort of department bound thinking should have waned with the retirement of those now in their seventies I should not have had toxplain this to other people who ve read the book the book should have done it for me and to be honest I m cross that Joan is being taught without thisThe voicesThere is plenty of comparative psychology out there showing how thought processes presentations and interpretations of Desert Kings (Deathlands, experience differ between cultures it s not just norms people s thinking and processing can itself be different It s possible that what a person now mightxperience as a memory or their own thoughts or a sense of received opinion built up over the years could have come into the mind of a medieval person as the voice of a supernatural beingIt s known that hearing voices is a common An Officer and a Spy experience which doesn t necessarily mean there is any mental illness present see Hearing Voices Network the work of Richard Bentall The UK is ahead of the curve on this issue and there has been plenty about it in the Guardian Society over the years I knew of it before Iver thought to study psychology so Exposed (Annika Bengtzon, even lessxcuse for Castor s failure to include this There s a lot of material around which can be very interestingly applied to Joan and which could also have the added contemporary benefit of destigmatisation work with readers of the book It doesn t reuire any definitive verdict about Joan though her organised behaviour does not tally well with Ooko early schizophrenia this is simply presenting contemporary knowlege relevant to one of the most controversial aspects of her as a historical figureI may have been spoiled for all other history books by reading Ronald Hutton s Pagan Britain immediately prior to this one Hutton may not be the most telegenic of historians but on paper his fairness humanity and attention to detail is IMO unmatched At least as much of its topic Pagan Britain is a history of interpretations and the reasons behind them and Castor s book felt so meagre by comparison it presented a straight narrative withoutlucidating within the text why this version was chosen without looking at different possible opinions on anything I simply wasn t Naked enthusednough to go burrowing in the un numbered references Yes the books are for different audiences but the old school political history content and serviceable writing style in Joan of Arc simply don t provide the Shadow Scale (Seraphina, excitement that should in a C21st popular history book For me this a book view spoiler sorry for the shocking revelation hide spoiler The two star rating that I m giving Joan of Arc A History has nothing to do with the historical accuracy of the book On the contrary I found this to be anxtraordinarily well researched and cited biographyUnfortunately that mega Claim The Crown effort did not lend itself to a readable ornjoyable bookThe general idea behind Joan of Arc is sound Helen Castor wanted to present Joan s story in context with an Nerds extended history of France for years before and after her appearance on the world stageIn that way she thought that the legend of the woman could be separated away from the reality The reader could appreciate the main players the attitude towards spiritual visions the belief of divine will in war and the monarchy and capture the overall general flavor of the time periodIt was a good premise but it just didn t work Maybe this was a doctoral thesis that Castor tweaked a bit and published It reads like thatWhy is it thatxperts on topics are rarely able to translate that interest and depth of knowledge into stories that the general public would In the Shadow of the Crown (Queens of England, enjoy I love medieval historyspecially the backgrounds of the handful of female figures who made it into print during that period This should have been right up my alley Joan of Arc A History read like a school textbook the dull kindActually it reminded me of translating Livy s History of Rome from Latin into English during college It should have been fascinating stuff as he was writing about a particularly Bark exciting period in Roman history when Hannibal was crossing the Alps to invade But sadly Livy got caught up in listingndless details particularly the size and shape of the On Such a Full Sea elephants Through description after description the pace of Hannibal s army slowed to a trickle and then it turned into a snooze festThat also happened in this bookIf younjoy scholarly research to the point that you just have to have it and nothing Hello, Hippo! Goodbye, Bird! else will do read this book If you want history to come alive and punch you in the face pick up something anything really by Margaret George or Bernard CornwellI particularly liked The Memoirs of Cleopatra or The Autobiography of Henry VIII With Notes by His Fool Will Somers George may not have thexacting research standards of this biography but her historical fictions are informative in addition to a delight to readI received a free copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads FTC guidelines chec. Five years after her death cleared her name In the transcripts we hear first hand testimony from Joan her family and her friends a rare survival from the medieval world What could be revealing.

Unfortunately the tile of this book is deceiving The name may not had been the author s original choice possibly the publisher s I have come across a few books that use name dropping as a marketing tool to attract readers but for people like me this marketing device inevitably leads to disappointment The author opens the book with the political situation during the dynastic clash for the control of the French crown the English invasion and the battle of Agincourt at the beginning of 1400s It is a reasonable start but Castor dedicates five chapters to the complex climate in France and England before Cannibal even introducing the protagonist This first part occupies than a third of the bookxcluding illustrations list of characters family trees notes and bibliography these last two sections fill half the book The second part despite being named Joan is a lengthy blow by blow account of the Anglo Burgundian vs Armagnac military campaigns in which Joan is only one of the many players rather than the biography that I Mastered (The Enforcers, expected The reader will have to wait until thend of this second part chapter 9 to be Man, Son of Man exact her testimony at the trial to begin to learn something about Joan s lifeFinally the third part which occupies another uarter of the book continues the history of the war for another twenty years or so after her death until the final retreat of the English from France with thexception of the port city of Calais Only at the nd of the book the testimonies of the witnesses at her second trial 25 years after the first shed some light about Joan s past for a dozen or so pages So at least 80% of the book is not about Joan of Arc s life Instead it is a summary of a brief period in French history and although well done is certainly not the portrait of a 19 year old peasant who that the book blurb promised Here you will not find in depth analysis of Joan s claims to be the messenger of God nor the theological position and implications at the time for xample was the papacy aware of her campaign and of the trial and if so what was their position no insights on the religious or cultural historical context g how was heresy defined at the time What were her contemporaries beliefs about women sorcery and superstition and importantly you will not get a sense of who Joan was and what her personality was like With a name like The history of the Ango Burgundian and French Armagnac conflict before during and after Joan of Arc I would rate the book 4 5 stars but as it is named Joan of Arc a history I must rate it much less It is a pity because this historical period is interesting and Castor s writing of the strategies during the war like at the siege of Orleans the many political manoeuvrings and her descriptions of the battlefields are ngagingI would recommend this book as a chronology of the dynastic battle for the French crown during the first half of 15th century complete with a detailed genealogy of the main players but if you like me are looking forward to reading a biography of Jehanne la Pucelle look Uncommon Wisdom elsewhere More history than biographyHelen Castor begins this retelling of the life of Joan the Maid byxplaining that although her story is better documented than most from this period it isn t always possible to take the sources at face value Since her legend was being created while she was still alive and since so much hung on the idea of which side in the war had the support of God then an inevitable bias has to be Unseen City expected in the various accounts of her actions and words So Castor has set out to put Joan s story into the context of the times and to do that she starts fourteen years before Joan appears taking us back to Agincourt and then working forward This is a fairly short book actually history than biography It s well written and thereforeasy to read and Castor Art explains the various alliances andnmities clearly having very little previous knowledge of the period I was able to follow the various shifting loyalties without too much difficulty and undoubtedly feel better informed about the God Is in the Crowd events and personalities of the time She describes the background to the feud between the Burgundians and the Armagnacs which split the French resistance to the English claim to the throne And she shows how the English policy towards any final peace was circumscribed by the infancy of the King after Henry V s death with his regent in France the Duke of Bedford feeling unable to reach decisions to which young Henry VI might object when he came to p The Truth always Comes OutHats off to Helen Castor for telling the story of The Maid chronologically rather thann media res To tell the story from the perspective of Attracting Songbirds to Your Backyard en media res results in highlighted uestions and scrambled information To tell the story in chronological order allows for human fallibility that does notdoes not need lead to character assassinationWhat a boon to biographers and their readers that so much documentation was recorded and kept for church records At the reuest of Bishop Cauchon a notary and his assistant Produced an official transcript of the proceedingsGathered correspondenceAppended witness statementsAppended public letters which announced Jean sxecutionCan there be a complete record of a woman of the Middle Ages Even during the The Matriarchs (The Family earlier part of the Early Modern Period such records were often nonxistent for women of middling to high statusAbout Time the story got told chronologically RIP Joan The Maid This was an interesting look at the figure of Joan of Arc through the lens of the political forces of her Notes for the Everlost era I knew virtually nothing about the 100 Year War prior to reading this I originally reuested this as an ARC from Netgalley because Injoyed Helen Castor s She Wolves but I never got round to it in time and When I Moan (Vassi and Seri 1: Russian Stepbrother Romance) ended up buying the book recently This is a bit too dry to be a story but Castor certainly picked her way through thevidence choosing what to weave into a seamless story It doesn t spend much time in the narrative on talking about conflicting testimony apocryphal stories No Biggy! etc I m left not uite sure how sure Castor is about some of thevents she describes The notes are pretty Crush It! extensive though with plenty of references for anyone with the patience to follow up on itAs with She Wolves this is a pretty readable book and Castor manages to bring across Joan s indomitable spirit her conviction and yeah her sassiness From the records we have it seems that we have a pretty consistent picture of Joan as a pious girl who believed wholly in what she was doing and that she was heaven sent to fulfil her missionOne thing I wondered though would we treat her any better today People talk about how badly she was treated particularly when in Anglo French custody but also in thendless reuests to prove herself and her virginity But we d treat her as mad today not venerate her Mind you don t take Joan the hero and act holier than thou about the medieval people who condemned her You likely would too though for different reasons however pretty and sassy and self confident she wasOriginally posted here France in 1429 was a divided kingdom At war with the English on and off since 1337 with a weak king and a ruling class destroyed by the catastrophe of Agincourt it looked as if the English king would finally secure the throne of France The English held the capital and most of northern France and in league with Philip of Burgundy at that time one of the most powerful of the regional French princes was closing in for the killInto this impossible situation flared the comet that was Joan of Arc Fired with an unshakeable conviction that she was a manifestation of the will of God she brought purpose and confidence to the French forces and set in train a turn in the fortunes of war that ultimately xpelled the English from FranceBy then Joan was long dead Ca. We all know the story of Joan of Arc A peasant girl who hears voices from God A warrior leading an army to victory in an age that believes women cannot fight The Maid of Orleans and the saviour.

Ptured and burnt as a heretic by the English War at this time was fought ually in the pulpit as on the battlefield The favour of God was sought and demonstrated by success in war with reverses as much to do with Gods displeasure as a feat of armsWhat I liked about this book was that it illuminates the way in which people at the time saw the conduct of war with the theological dimension being as important as supplies and soldiers It was theology that Deep Listening ensured that in 1431 Joan would be confirmed a heretic and burnt yet in 1456 with the English chased away she would bexonerated by a review based on mostly the same Bird-by-Bird Gardening evidenceA good read Writing the biography of a medieval figure is always a difficult undertaking However the life of Joan the Maid is better documented than most largely due to the transcripts of her trial for heresy and the subseuent investigation which cleared her name twenty five years after her death Author Helen Castor attempts not only to tell her story but to put her life and death in context within the history of a turbulent time for France by interpreting the trial transcripts and of making clear the religious beliefs of the timeThe book begins with the battle of Agincourt of feuds and factions and France a fractured kingdom It is important to point out that Joan herself does not put in an appearance during the first part of this book However for many readers myself included who know little about thevents of this time understanding the politics and factions that abounded at the time help set the scene We first read of Joan s appearance at about a uarter of the way into this read when she arrives at Chinon having tried unsuccessfully to reach the king the previous year It is now 1429 and Joan a village girl still in her teens in men s clothes says she has been sent by God not just to instruct the king but to help him recover his kingdom from the English If only the king would give her an army she would drive the English out of France and lead him to his coronation This message obviously puts Charles in a uandary if he followed a false prophet this would lead to disaster In the same way rejecting a true prophet would be The Works of Saint Augustine eually catastrophic Time and again Joan had to prove herself Initially she had to prove her integrity her maidenhood her faith and habits to Charles She was uestioned by theologians and had to try to prove her authenticity before undertaking her mission Joan travelled to Orleans and the scarred and hungry town reacted with hope to the news of this miraculous maid coming to save them Indeed the siege was lifted within four days and it seemed a miracle This book follows her onwards always trying to convince those around her to fight against English rule and on to her capture As a prisoner accused of heresy she again faced of interrogation Only this time she was not arguing to help her king butffectively to save her life If she was found guilty she would burn if not she might be spared This is a fascinating read which really puts the life of Joan of Arc is historical perspective It gives great background looks at Joan as an icon a saint a heroine and a woman who fought in a man s world It xamines what she achieved gives insight into her trial and how remarkably self possessed she was despite her age and shows with real poignancy how vulnerable she was Although I do feel I know much about Joan and her place in history and understand why the author approached her story in the way she did I did feel at the nd that I might have liked to have read about her life before she ntered the historical arena by approaching the king I understand why the author used the trial transcripts to look at her personal history and that we are lucky so much remains to help reconstruct her life but I felt that although I understood her I still did not really know this lusive young woman Overall though this is an Supper Club enjoyable and readable biography which isspecially g 35 Early July 2016 What if into the current chaos of the Labour Party appeared a preternaturally confident teenager without previous political involvement hogging publicity and insisting they could unify the party despite being academically unremarkable and in social class not fitting too well with ither the diminishing core working class vote or the parliamentary party And somehow because verything s such a ridiculous mess that could barely get any worse and some people are desperate to try anything this teen gets appointed to manage a campaign for a by Professional Capital election that was never terribly likely to be won and under their direction it is won and support starts to growWhen writing this book Helen Castor didn t have such a handy contemporary analogy available to communicate the utter weirdness and unlikelihood of Joan s ascendancy to an audience who takes her for granted as a famous historical figure but that s the kind of context she sets out by spending the first third not on Joan but on the pandemonium ofarly fifteenth century French politics and war into which she walkedThe above imaginary left wing 2010s William Hague would be Seven Dwarfs Find a House (Disney Classic) extremely unlikely to gain such traction due to their young age and would be told to go off and finish their GCSEs whilst doing a bit of youth party work and helping out with leafleting but being female in the fifteenth century Joan wasven less likely to be taken seriously as a military leaderA accurate title for Helen Castor s book would be Joan of Arc in Political Context which okay sounds like an undergrad honours module but does give a fairer idea of the content as the casual reader Berlioz, Vol. 2 expects something different from a short book on Joan and it is short about half the length is references I for one appreciated a refresher on the destructive machinations between Burgundy Armagnac and the English inarly fifteenth century France But all these dukes and plots and battles are of less interest to many and there was so much potentially interesting material missing The introduction promises that information about Joan herself and her social The Middle Sin (Cleo North environment will be forthcoming towards thend in witness statements at posthumous hearings but that turned out to be false hope what s here is scantyHowever if I d The Mediterranean Millionaires Mistress ever heard much before about the formidable Yolande of Aragon mother in law of theventual Charles VII I d forgotten one of those medieval royal women whose Francis Uruhart like influence behind the scenes decided at least as much as any showy battle The way Castor s book reads it s as if Yolande was the grandmaster who over decades moved the players into place so the Hundred Years War could be Midnight Fantasies endedCastor also includes some highly pertinent information about similar visionary and prophetic figures who had appeared in France in the years before Joan making pronouncements related to the war Some others who were current during Joan s short fame are also mentioned The following read like the key to why Joan was given her chance to be heard at court when so many like her were not Her message was the right one at the right time with Charles court on the retreat but she also fit a pattern already familiar to Yolande During that time holy voices had been raised across Europe to demand annd to the Church s agony and Yolande had learned at first hand that these spiritual leaders might be female as well as male In the 1390s for Men of Steele Bundle example her mother in law Marie of Brittany another strikingly formidable dowager duchess of Anjou had known a peasant woman named Marie Robine who had begun to receive messages from Godon 22 February 1398 that Marie Robine first heard a voice from heaven telling her that she must direct the king to reform the Church andnd the schismBy April Duchess Marie was taking so close an interest in this divine instruction that she was present in St Michael s cemetery when Marie Robine. Of France Burned at the stake as a heretic at the age of just nineteen Five hundred years later a saint Her case was heard in court twice over One trial in 1431 condemned her; the other twenty.

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Helen Castor is a historian of medieval England and a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College Cambridge She directed studies in History at Sidney for eight years before deciding to concentrate on writing history for a wider readership Her book Blood & Roses Faber 2004 published in revised form in the US by HarperCollins 2006 is a biography of the fifteenth century Paston family whose letters are