Memory, Emotion and Truth: The Posthumous Trial of Joan of Arc

Tuesday 19 February 2019, 5.30PM

Speaker(s): Dr Craig Taylor

As the Hundred Years War drew to a close, clerics loyal to the French King Charles VII opened an inquiry into the trial of Joan of Arc that had taken place at Rouen in 1431. Over a period of six years, one hundred and sixty witnesses were asked about their memories of Joan and the legal process through which she had been found guilty of heresy. They ranged from clerics involved in that original trial to ordinary people who had known her as a child in her home village of Domrémy, as well as important noblemen like the duke of Alencon and the count of Dunois who had fought alongside her in her battles against the English. Thanks to their testimony, the judges were able to overturn the original verdict against Joan, and their evidence now provides the foundation for the modern celebration of this extraordinary French heroine. But despite the historical importance of this Nullification Trial, the records have received very little scholarly attention.

This lecture will therefore re-evaluate the reliability of these witness statements in reconstructing the story of Joan of Arc, and also investigate their value as windows into wider issues like gender, religion, politics, warfare and emotions in mid-fifteenth century France.

Location: Bowland Auditorium