The Appropriation of Joan of Arc

joan of arcIt is highly unfashionable these days in France to show affection or admiration for Joan of Arc because she has been taken as a symbol by the far right, both the anti-foreigner Front National, which meets at her statue every May 1st, and the bizarroïde royalists of Action Française.

I still admire the real Joan, the brave young woman who led an army in her white armor and tossed the goddams, or English, out of France, bringing an eventual end to the Hundred Years’ War. The real Joan was quite brilliant. When she was crossing a moat at Chinon to meet the yet-uncrowned king Charles VII for the first time, one of his officers joked that she would not be a maid long if he had his way with her. She looked at him and said, “How can you jest and your death so near?” and went into the castle. Before she came out again, he had accidentally fallen into the moat and drowned in his heavy armor. Don’t mess with la Pucelle! She will overcome this new obstacle, too.

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