Faber & Faber - Historian Helen Castor reveals the real Joan of Arc
Historian Helen Castor reveals the real Joan of Arc
In her new book, acclaimed historian and BBC broadcaster Helen Castor, author of She-Wolves, brings us afresh a gripping life of Joan of Arc. Instead of the icon, she gives us a living, breathing young woman; a roaring girl fighting the English, and taking sides in a bloody civil war that was tearing fifteenth century France apart. In this interview she describes how she came to write the book, and what it was like to de-mythologise the great icon.
The book is a portrait of a 19-year-old peasant who hears voices from God; a teenager transformed into a warrior leading an army to victory, in an age that believed women should not fight. And it is also the story behind the myth we all know, a myth which began to take hold at her trial: that of the Maid of Orleans, the saviour of France, a young woman burned at the stake as a heretic, a woman who five hundred years later would be declared a saint.
Joan and her world are brought vividly to life in this refreshing new take on the medieval world.