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Divine Right: Mark Twain's Joan of Arc

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 August 2007


Most readers have not agreed with Mark Twain in liking Joan of Arc best of all his novels, particularly because his hand is almost invisible in it. He presents the story as a translation by “Jean Francois Alden” of the remembrances of “Sieur Louis de Conte.” He did not think readers would take a work by “Mark Twain” seriously. Only the initials S. L. C. indicate the connection between the actual and the presumed author. Twain considered Joan to be “the most extraordinary person the human race has ever produced.” She was a woman—and a general. She genuinely believed that she was acting on the basis of commands from God. In relating her story, Twain nevertheless shows that nothing human, and certainly no government and no ruler, is entitled to divine honors or right.

Research Article
2007 University of Notre Dame

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