Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism, Edition 2

OUP Oxford
2
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The fame of Joan of Arc began in her lifetime and, though it has dipped a little now and then, she has never vanished from view. Her image acts as a seismograph for the shifts and settlings of personal and political ideals: Joan of Arc is the heroine every movement has wanted as their figurehead. In France, anti-semitic, xenophobic, extreme right parties have claimed her since the Action Francaise in the 19th century. By contrast, Socialists, feminists, and liberal Catholics rallied to her as the champion of the dispossessed and the wrongly accused. Joan of Arc has also played a crucial role in changing visions of female heroism. She has proved an inexhaustible source of inspiration for writers, playwrights, film-makers, performers, and composers. In a single, brief life, several of the essential mythopoiec characteristics that throughout history have defined the charismatic leader and saint are powerfully and intensely condensed. Even while Joan of Arc was still alive, but far more so after her death, the heroic part of her story sparked narratives of all kinds, in pictures, ballads, plays, and also satires. This was only heightened in 1841-9 by the publication of the Inquisition trial which had examined Joan for witchcraft and heresy. The transcript of the interrogations gives us the voice of this young woman across the centuries with almost unbearable immediacy; her spirit leaps from the page, uncompromising in its frankness, good sense, courage, and often breathtaking in its simple effectiveness. Joan of Arc into one of the most fully and vividly present personalities in history, about whom a great more is known, in her own words and at first hand, than is, for example, about Shakespeare. However, this has not stopped the flow of fictions and fantasies about her. Marina Warner analyses the symbolism of the Maid in her own time and in her rich afterlife in popular culture. The cultural expressions are part of an ongoing historical struggle to own the symbol - you could say, the brand. In a new preface to her study, Marina Warner takes stock of the continuing contention, in politics and culture, for this powerful symbol of virtue. Joan of Arc's multiple resurrections and transformations show how vigorous the need for figures like her remains, and how crucial it is to meet that need with thoughtfulness. She argues that abandoning the search to identify heroes and define them, out of a kind of high-minded distaste for propaganda, lets dangerous political factions manipulate them to their own ends. When Marine Le Pen calls on Joan of Arc's name, she needs to be confronted about her bad faith and her abuse of history.
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About the author

Marina Warner's award-winning studies of mythology and fairy tales include Monuments & Maidens: The Allegory of the Female Form (l985) and No Go the Bogeyman: Scaring, Lulling and Making Mock (1998). Her Clarendon Lectures Fantastic Metamorphoses; Other Worlds were published in 2002; her essays on literature and culture were collected in Signs & Wonders (2000), and Phantasmagoria, a study of spirits and technology, appeared in 2006. Marina Warner was created a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French in 2002, and a Commendatore by the Italians in 2005. She was awarded the Warburg Prize in Germany in 2004, and is an Honorary Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She is Professor of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex and President of the British Comparative Literature Association. In 2005 she was elected a Fellow of the British Academy. Oxford gave her an Honorary Doctorate in 2005.
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Additional Information

Publisher
OUP Oxford
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Published on
Mar 21, 2013
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9780191651946
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Anthropology / Cultural & Social
Social Science / Women's Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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This unique study of the cult of the Virgin Mary offers a way of thinking about the interrelations of Catholicism and ideas of ideal femininity over the longue duree. An ambitious history of the changing symbolism of the Mother of God, Alone of All Her Sex holds up to the light different emphases occurring at different times, and highlights that the apparent archetype of a magna mater is constantly in play with social and historical conditions and values. Marina Warner's interesting perspective was forged in the aftermath of significant postwar developments in history, anthropology, and feminism and the book inspired fierce debates when it was first published in 1976. Alone of All Her Sex is also an emotive, personal statement, arising from Warner's own upbringing as a Catholic. It picks up on classic accounts such as Mary MacCarthy's Memoirs of a Catholic Girlhood and Antonia White's Frost in May, as well as the author's own experiences at a Catholic boarding school. Highly controversial in conservative quarters, the book's arguments were welcomed and recognised by many readers who shared Warner's experiences. In this new edition, Marina Warner has written a new preface which reviews the book in the light of the current debate about secularism, faith, nations, and social identities. She takes issue with her original mistaken conclusion that the modern age would see the cult of Mary fade away and revises it in the light of recent popes' enthusiasm for the Mother of God, a fresh wave of visions and revelations, a new generation of female saints, and the reorientation of theological approaches to the woman question.
From wicked queens, beautiful princesses, elves, monsters, and goblins to giants, glass slippers, poisoned apples, magic keys, and mirrors, the characters and images of fairy tales have cast a spell over readers and audiences, both adults and children, for centuries. These fantastic stories have travelled across cultural borders, and been passed on from generation to generation, ever-changing, renewed with each re-telling. Few forms of literature have greater power to enchant us and rekindle our imagination than a fairy tale. But what is a fairy tale? Where do they come from and what do they mean? What do they try and communicate to us about morality, sexuality, and society? The range of fairy tales stretches across great distances and time; their history is entangled with folklore and myth, and their inspiration draws on ideas about nature and the supernatural, imagination and fantasy, psychoanalysis, and feminism. Marina Warner has loved fairy tales over a long writing life, and she explores here a multitude of tales through the ages, their different manifestations on the page, the stage, and the screen. From the phenomenal rise of Victorian and Edwardian literature to contemporary children's stories, Warner unfolds a glittering array of examples, from classics such as Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and The Sleeping Beauty, the Grimm Brothers' Hansel and Gretel, and Hans Andersen's The Little Mermaid, to modern-day realizations including Walt Disney's Snow White and gothic interpretations such as Pan's Labyrinth. In ten succinct chapters, Marina Warner digs into a rich hoard of fairy tales in their brilliant and fantastical variations, in order to define a genre and evaluate a literary form that keeps shifting through time and history. Her book makes a persuasive case for fairy tale as a crucial repository of human understanding and culture.
From wicked queens, beautiful princesses, elves, monsters, and goblins, to giants, glass slippers, poisoned apples, magic keys, and mirrors, the characters and images of fairy tales have cast a spell over readers and audiences, both adults and children, for centuries. These fantastic stories have travelled across cultural borders, and been passed on from generation to generation, ever-changing, renewed with each re-telling. Few forms of literature have greater power to enchant us and rekindle our imagination than a fairy tale. But what is a fairy tale? Where do they come from and what do they mean? What do they try and communicate to us about morality, sexuality, and society? The range of fairy tales stretches across great distances and time; their history is entangled with folklore and myth, and their inspiration draws on ideas about nature and the supernatural, imagination and fantasy, psychoanalysis, and feminism. In this Very Short Introduction, Marina Warner digs into a rich hoard of fairy tales in all their brilliant and fantastical variations, in order to define a genre and evaluate a literary form that keeps shifting through time and history. Drawing on a glittering array of examples, from classics such as Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and The Sleeping Beauty, the Grimm Brothers' Hansel and Gretel, and Hans Andersen's The Little Mermaid, to modern-day realizations including Walt Disney's Snow White, Warner forms a persuasive case for fairy tale as a crucial repository of human understanding and culture. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
This unique study of the cult of the Virgin Mary offers a way of thinking about the interrelations of Catholicism and ideas of ideal femininity over the longue duree. An ambitious history of the changing symbolism of the Mother of God, Alone of All Her Sex holds up to the light different emphases occurring at different times, and highlights that the apparent archetype of a magna mater is constantly in play with social and historical conditions and values. Marina Warner's interesting perspective was forged in the aftermath of significant postwar developments in history, anthropology, and feminism and the book inspired fierce debates when it was first published in 1976. Alone of All Her Sex is also an emotive, personal statement, arising from Warner's own upbringing as a Catholic. It picks up on classic accounts such as Mary MacCarthy's Memoirs of a Catholic Girlhood and Antonia White's Frost in May, as well as the author's own experiences at a Catholic boarding school. Highly controversial in conservative quarters, the book's arguments were welcomed and recognised by many readers who shared Warner's experiences. In this new edition, Marina Warner has written a new preface which reviews the book in the light of the current debate about secularism, faith, nations, and social identities. She takes issue with her original mistaken conclusion that the modern age would see the cult of Mary fade away and revises it in the light of recent popes' enthusiasm for the Mother of God, a fresh wave of visions and revelations, a new generation of female saints, and the reorientation of theological approaches to the woman question.
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