Saturday, August 2, 2008

Joan of Arc

Butterflies in clouds accompanied her standard;
Pigeons miraculously fluttered toward her;
Men fell into rivers and were drowned;
Dead babies yawned and came to life;
Flocks of little birds perched on bushes
to watch her making war.
--Vita Sackville-West
Joan of Arc, painting by Harold H. Piffard, 1895

Back in my old swashbuckling days, when I wasn't Zorro, I always
wanted to be Joan of Arc. Boys were always much more interesting
to play with than girls, and in the role of Joan, I could still be a girl and
do my fair share of sword wielding. She was born to a French peasant
family in the seventy-fifth year of the Hundred Years War between
England and France, 1412. Leading the French army to several
important victories during this war and claiming divine guidance, she
was indirectly responsible for the coronation of King Charles the VII.
She was captured, tried and burned at the stake by the English, all
when she was just 19 years old. Twenty four years later, Joan was
declared innocent by the Holy See, beatified in 1909 and canonized in
1920. Joan of Arc has remained an important figure in Western culture,
with major writers, composers and filmmakers showing tribute.
Numerous movies have been made, including one starring the
wonderful Ingrid Bergman in 1949. My particular favorite Joan of Arc
film is The Messenger, 1999, starring beautiful Milla Jovovich as Joan,
with a stellar performance of Dustin Hoffman as her conscience. I
would also love to see Tchaikovsky's opera starring mezzo-soprano
Dolora Zajick!


  1. Poor Joan, the price of sainthood is often an appointment with a stack if burning wood. I like the Piffard painting, it gives St. Joan a very human quality.

  2. I have always loved Joan of Arc. She was courageous even in the face of death. A warrior saint.

  3. Willow... beautiful painting and n interesting post. I did not realize she was 19 when she was killed. I can't seem to get my mind around all that she did at such a young age...I enjoyed Ingrid Bergman in this role...Of course, I like her in pretty much anything...what an actress she was.

  4. I remember reading Ingrid Bergman's autobiography about playing that role. I was always fascinated by her as well, although I wasn't too thrilled about the burned-at-the-stake end of the story.

  5. Such a gorgeous painting and you know, she sort of looks like you. I can see why you liked to play her when you were little!

  6. I showed WT this post earlier and he said, "Wow, this looks like a younger you!" ;)

  7. It does look like you! :) And I didn't know Joan of Arc was only 19 years old. Interesting...and sad!
    And I think I do remember you pretending to be her! :)

  8. I couldn't get on your site last land problems I guess. It was really weird as I was thinking of an old saying that my grandpa used.......That fence in bull high and hog tight. I just had to laugh when you had a similar saying on your blog. Have a great Sunday.

  9. Gosh, that is a great war bonds poster. What propaganda, Women you can save America, just as Joan saved France! The martyr part isn't mentioned anywhere on it, is it?

  10. Thanks for the history lesson...I'd forgotten most of it.

  11. Stevie, I wondered if anyone would bring up the poster. Times have certainly changed. We would never see anything like that today.

    Love your new profile pic...the eyes are perfect for you! :)

  12. Teenagers ... always getting into trouble ..

    Seriously, she was a fascinating part of a very crazy time

    And the poster .. wonderful stuff ...


  13. This was a great post, Willow! I need to watch The Messenger again as it's been ages since I saw that...Great movie....

    You know, Joan of Arc is said to have been the inspiration for the hairstylist Antoine when he introduced the bob to Europe in 1909...Thought you might appreciate that since you're sporting one :-)...

  14. That is very interesing about the inspiration for the "bob"! Your post on that subject was one of the most interesting I have read! A fave!!

  15. Too bad we don't really know what Joan looked like. But it is fun to look at historic pictures of her and there are a bunch at Joan of Arc Pictures

  16. em2, I'm so glad you added that link to your comment. I saw it yesterday when I was putting this post together and had intended to include it, believe it or not! :)

  17. Hello from South Carolina! I saw that movie with Mila Jojovich and that was wonderful.

  18. I meant to say, I like your new look too. I liked the one I saw earlier yesterday too ( the woman's back was lovely)

  19. Thanks, Stevie. I saved that header, too, and will use it again later. After I popped this one on to see how it looked, it had to stay! :)

  20. Redneck girls. They can survive. Pappy

  21. I think the green background went with blogger when they shut down my blog for about 30 hours -- they said by mistake. Anyway. I will experiment with colors as it is my favorite thing. Color.

  22. Great post, as always! I enjoy your blog and look forward to every update!♥

  23. Thank you, Tammy and welcome to Willow Manor...hope you come back again soon. :)

  24. Willow, are you serious? you liked, "the Messenger?!" It was so poorly acted and had terrible splicing between scenes where her hairstyle would change in the middle of a scene and so on. now, granted the actress was lovely and did a pretty good job, the scenery was gorgeous but I suppose I couldn't get over the aforementioned scenes!

    JOA was incredible though and so brave. Particularly interesting are the writings on her divine revelations. I've read a fair bit about it.

  25. Yes, but didn't you think Dustin Hoffman did a great job? Granted, it's not in my top 50, but I certainly like the subject matter.

    I am picky about costumes and hair and hers didn't bother me.


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)