arcOne of my brothers, who is rumored to visit Lost Cowboy from time-to-time, is a fan of Joan of Arc. Well, fan may be a strong word, he is enamored by the iconography of Saint Joan and collects all sorts of items that depict her. I on the other hand really did not know much about Joan other than what I saw in movies and picked up in popular culture – until I read the wonderful new biography Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured by Kathryn Harrison.

About Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured by Kathryn Harrison: “The profoundly inspiring and fully documented saga of Joan of Arc, the young peasant girl whose ‘voices’ moved her to rally the French nation and a reluctant king against British invaders in 1428, has fascinated artistic figures as diverse as William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Voltaire, George Bernard Shaw, Bertolt Brecht, Carl Dreyer, and Robert Bresson. Was she a divinely inspired saint? A schizophrenic? A demonically possessed heretic, as her persecutors and captors tried to prove? Every era must retell and reimagine the Maid of Orleans’s extraordinary story in its own way, and in Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured, the superb novelist and memoirist Kathryn Harrison gives us a Joan for our time—a shining exemplar of unshakable faith, extraordinary courage, and self-confidence during a brutally rigged ecclesiastical inquisition and in the face of her death by burning. Deftly weaving historical fact, myth, folklore, artistic representations, and centuries of scholarly and critical interpretation into a compelling narrative, she restores Joan of Arc to her rightful position as one of the greatest heroines in all of human history.”

Whether or not young Joan heard the voice of God for real can be debated of course. However, what is a fact is that her legend has survived almost 600 years and is as compelling today as ever. In the deft hands of Ms. Harrison, the tale of Joan of Arc has never been more alive or better told and is a fitting tribute to one of history’s most enduring figures.

Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured by Kathryn Harrison is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.