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France’s Jehanne: The 15th Century Heroine in Truth and Fiction

France’s Jehanne: The 15th Century Heroine in Truth and Fiction

By Erin Rogers

Sweet Briar College Honors Journal (Fall 2007)

Introduction: In the spring  of my first year at Sweet Briar College, 2005, I took the  course,  “France’s Heroes in Art and Literature,” an Honors Seminar taught by Dr. Marie­Therese  Killiam. In this class I was given  an  assignment to  creatively record my studies in a  written journal focusing  on one  highlighted  figure. This is how  I began writing  my  version of Joan of Arc’s highly chronicled life in her voice.

Although it is appealing to compose an historical, yet autobiographical narrative,  it is necessary to acknowledge that there are few, if any, available sources in existence to  accurately and  comprehensively understand  her character  and  her  voice alone. The  attempt to isolate  her  actual story is an arduous and  valuable  endeavor involving  the  study of character, situation, and psychology through historical text. However, it is unrealistic for one to succeed with accuracy. Only if Joan of Arc, or Jehanne la Pucelle  as she was known, had  kept a record  of her  life would  her story be  precise; and  even  one’s own  account  of their life is rarely  completely factual. Therefore, the  novelist’s biographical narrative can be considered an artistic endeavor, using as little or as much  historical truth as is accessible or perhaps desired.

France Jehanne the 15th Century Heroine in Truth and Fiction

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