How to Build a Joan of Arc


For Pictorial at Jezebel, Kelly Faircloth interviews Helen Castor, the author of Joan of Arc: A History, a book that attempts to recreate the context into which Joan of Arc emerged in history:

What was different about what Joan was saying was that she was saying that God was commanding her not only to convey information to her king, but also to take up arms…. Because while it was clear that God might speak to an individual and might send a message through even a 17-year-old peasant girl, so might the devil. So the million-franc question was, had Joan been sent from heaven or had she been sent from hell?

In the interview, Castor also addresses how this singular emergence allowed Joan of Arc to stand out in history, available for co-opting by future causes looking for icons and standards.

Michelle Vider is a writer based in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared/is forthcoming in The Toast, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Atlas and Alice, Baldhip Magazine, and others. Find her at or @meanchelled. More from this author →