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Reviews 215 Illuminations in medieval manuscripts, while 'texts' in their o w n right, were sometimes given quite significant 'meanings' for the texts they accompanied. It would, therefore, have been more satisfying to see these illustrations tied in more closely to the texts with which they have been associated in this book. While the volume does not cover the subject matter thoroughly, and does not pretend to, it should certainly leave the reader wanting to know more about this fascinating aspect of medieval culture, literature, and society. Overall, Medieval Women in their Communities leaves the reader with a sense of the excitement involved in the uncovering of new information in a developing field. It is well worth the read for anyone with an interest in medieval studies and/or women's history and writing. Kellinde Wrightson-Turcotte Department of English University of Sydney Wheeler, Bonnie and Charles T. Wood, ed. Fresh Verdicts on Joan of Arc, Ne York and London, Garland, 1996; cloth; pp. xvi, 317; R.R.P. US$60.00. This book of eighteen essays, introduction, preface, many black-and-white illustrations and a list of contributors, is indeed what its title suggests, a set of veryfreshconsiderations of many aspects of Joan's career and significance. It is, indeed, the essential modern starting point for Joan of Arc studies for, though it lacks an index and cumulative bibliography, the notes to each essay cover an amazing array of primary and secondary materials. As one essay admits (p. 281), 'Joan has been subjected to all manner of appropriation by many factions to the point of disappearance as a real person', yet this collection not only provides an excellent guide to many of these appropriations (omitting serious consideration, however, of Joan in literature and music/opera), but also serves as a fine and thoughtful introduction to what the reader may choose to consider to have been 'the real Joan'. The volume is very nicely produced with barely a single misprint. The essays fall, in m y view, into the important, the interesting and the matters of detail. Interesting is Jane Marie Pinzino's discussion of the Franciscan Elie de Bourdeilles, Bishop of Perigeux (1438-68) and his 'carefully crafted theological endorsement of [Joan's] mystical experience and its divine authenticity' (p. 163) at the maid's 1456 Rehabilitation Trial. Matters of detail deal with: Joan's first meeting with the future Charles VII (Jean Fraikin); some minor adjustments to the record that result from correction of transcription errors in the texts relating to Joan (Olivier Bouzy), including correction of the 'fact' that Joan had been a shepherdess!); text and discussion of six stanzas 'losf until 1893 from Martin Le Franc's Champion des Dames, 1440-42, mentioning Gerson's De 216 Reviews mirabili victoria (Gertrude H. Merkle); a discussion of w h y Joan of Arc was never presented to her contemporaries as an Amazon—'in the tight but influential circle surrounding Charles VII the Amazons could hardly have played a part in Joan's being well received by the prelates and counselors of the Poitiers commission' (Deborah Fraioli, p. 197); information about contemporary medical practices and the various medical examinations of Joan (Marie-Veronique Clin); a glimpse of 'material culture' in Joan's time from excavations carried out over more than a quarter of the medieval town of Saint-Denis, around 32 acres to the north of the royal basilica, in connection with modern urban redevelopment (Nicole Meyer Rodrigues, with fourteen illustrations of artefacts and a map). In her preface, Bonnie Wheeler uses Joan's sword to 'map the juncture of the material and spiritual worlds' and stresses the maid's simplicity of speech, which silenced her judges, w h o did not want their attempts to trap her into an admission of witchcraft to result in 'a talisman'. Of post-medieval importance are: a characteristically virtuosic examination of h o w far Joan's fate as a saint hung in the balance at her canonization process from 18691920 , by Henry Ansgar Kelly); a learned discussion of Joan 'au cinema' by Kevin J. Harty with several illustrations; a judicious consideration of the French Right's appropriation of the image...


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