Joan of Arc
BirthPeasant's daughter, Domrémy
VocationReceived visionary calling to save French kingdom
OrdealDelivered Orléans from English siege
DeathCondemned for heresy, burned at stake, Rouen
RecognitionHeresy conviction nullified
Biographies of Joan of Arc: A Looking Glass Into the Victorian AgeRead more...
Sharon Wong and Jasmine Bailey
Preceding her canonization in 1920, the Victorian era experienced a revived interest in the historical figure Joan of Arc. Because the biographical accounts written at the time reflect the various ideologies of the age, one doesn’t know what to expect of her portrayal. Was she illustrated as a divinely inspired prophetess or simply an imaginative heroine? Universally, they regale her with flowery prose, depicting her as an archetypal tragic heroine who is wronged by her contemporaries; however, it seems that Victorian authors are unable to agree on the extent of her holiness. Her secular self takes a back seat with her “divinity” pushed beneath the spotlight in some instances, and in others the case is reversed. Also, some authors comment on her adopting male conduct, wearing men’s attire, and leading the men of the French military. Many authors state outright what they feel to be appropriate behavior of a member of the “fairer sex,” while others neglect the issue entirely. These discordant viewpoints concerning Joan of Arc’s divinity and adherence to gender roles are reflective of the controversial social issues prominent during the Victorian era.