Modernizing Joan of Arc

Conceptions, Costumes, and Canonization


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About the Book

Historical opinions regarding Joan of Arc are fraught with contradiction. As one of the most widely studied women in history, she has been labeled both a saint and a criminal, both a pioneering feminist and an “unnatural” transvestite. This work explores the attitudes that have followed Joan of Arc for centuries, beginning with the notions of gender and authority in the 15th century during Joan’s criminal trials. The book’s central premise explores the interconnected social and political threads that informed the decision to canonize Joan of Arc in the nineteenth century, with extensive analysis of the many biographies that appeared during and after the canonization itself. Depictions of her as a leader contradict those that cast her as an obedient child. Dolgin traces the prevalent portrayals of Joan as a cultural icon for disparate social and political agendas. A unique focus on the role of women’s clothing and the feminine image prevails throughout the book, with special attention to the portrayals of Joan of Arc and women in paintings, war posters, theater productions, and films during the early 20th century.

About the Author(s)

Ellen Ecker Dolgin is a professor and Chair of English and Co-Chair of Gender Studies at Dominican College in Orangeburg, New York. She is Vice President of the International Shaw Society and former President of the Northeast Modern Language Association.

Bibliographic Details

Ellen Ecker Dolgin

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 207
Bibliographic Info: 21 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3120-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments       viii
Prologue: Cut on the Bias      1
Introduction: The Pattern in Pieces      7

1. All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go: The Historical Joan      25
2. Divine Threads: The Canonization Era in Context      43
3. Joan’s Costume Changes: Wrapping and Unwrapping the New Woman      71
4. Ready-to-Wear: Joan as Iconographic Public Woman      91
5. So Well-Suited: Joan and Her Shavian Sisters      115
6. Putting on Their Trousers One Leg at a Time: Brecht’s Three Joans      137

Epilogue: Saintly in Slacks: The Iconographic Joan since 1945      154
Chapter Notes      179
Bibliography      191
Index      197