This reverent portrayal of Joan of Arc, which Twain had obsessed over for forty years, studied for a dozen years and spent two years writing, forms part of the author's output devoted to religion - a subject on which he held strong, and not always generally shared, views. Interestingly, in 1900 and again in 1908, he stated, "I like Joan of Arc best of all my books, it is the best". The book purports to be the recollections of 'one who was there' during the Maid's extraordinary career, the 'Sieur Louis de Conte', and is thus written in the first person, which gives the author the chance to bring the whole story to life in the most immediate manner.
Mark Twain (aka Samuel Langhorne Clemens) (1835-1910) was an American writer, entrepreneur, publisher and lecturer, creator of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" (1876) and its sequel, "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"W (1885), the latter often called "The Great American Novel". His wit and satire, in prose and in speech, earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty. Born shortly after a visit by Halley's Comet, and having predicted that he would "go out with it", too, he died the day after the comet returned. He was lauded as the "greatest American humorist of his age", and William Faulkner called him "the father of American literature".
Our book is in reasonable condition for its age, bound in dark-blue cloth imprinted with fleurs de lys on the front cover, and a raised illustration of Joan embellished with gilt and black. Title and other details in gilt on the spine. Page tops gilt. There are the usual signs of shelf wear (top & bottom of spine, all corners bumped, wear to long angles of spine), but the binding is generally firm with no loose pages, but some weakness at pp. 144-5, 304-5 and 336-7. The decorated endpapers are somewhat cracked at the spine angle, with the webbing showing particularly at the back. The 20 illustrations are all present, and the frontispiece is protected by its tissue guard. Long page edges rough cut. Ink-written note of receipt dated 1896 adorns the half title page. Minimal signs of foxing.