30 May, 2005 at 9:02 pm (clerical)

Despite earlier reservations that I might not be able to incorporate secondary and tertiary content feeds into my existing webpage structure, I have successfully managed to approach being the sort of derring-do internetician that I’d like to be. So I’m very pleased to introduce the new live content aspect of my site, a Joan of Arc blog.

I used to teach a class on Joan of Arc and her particular relationship with the Hundred Years War, and I got in the habit of scanning the world for links and relevancy. Part of the ideal for the class was that I could show that regardless that the key events took place somewhere in the vicinity of six hundred years ago, that their echoes still affected contemporary attitudes and politics, and that Joan herself was an accessible person. Since the class was primarily beign taught to 18 year old females, I especially harped on that last bit, trying not to — as Vita Sackville West did — make her a contemporary romantic figure, but to delineate how certain aspects of being young and human remained the same over time, and some aspectes of her character were purely medieval and purely foreign.

As a tantalizing morsel to get you to click through the above link and perhaps even subscribe to future updates, here’s the first entry:

30 May, 1431 – Jehanne is burned alive as a relapsed heretic in the marketplace at Rouen.

It’s a strange number, the 574th anniversary. It catches on the hems of our base-10 consciousness, looking close to a number that should be significant to a culture that celebrates centennials and their quarters. But because quarter centuries aren’t particularly important except to people and occasion-starved businesses, even next year’s anniversary will have two important flaws. Firstly, it will seem either 25 years too early to recognize with any real flair, or 75 years too late, and secondly, it’s the anniversary of the horrific death of a young woman who wasn’t even sure how old she was.

Joan’s words that morning, as translated by Willard Trask, are as follows:

Alas! Am I so horribly and cruelly used, that my clean body, never yet defiled, must this day be burnt and turned to ashes. Ha! Ha! I would rather be beheaded seven times than suffer burning.

Alas! If I had been kept in the Church’s prison, to which I had submitted — if I had been kept by churchmen instead of my enemies and adversaries, I should not have come to such a miserable end.

Such merriment! Fun for all!

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