Myth and tragedy : representations of Joan of Arc in film and the twentieth century theatre.
This study considers the processes by which film and play-texts engage with the mythic
figure of Joan of Arc. Chapter One provides an overview of the vast body of work that has
been inspired by Joan's history. Chapter Two addresses the tragic configuration of Joan's
story, especially with regard to ethical conflict and culpability. In Chapter Three, I discuss the
displacement of notions of innocence onto Joan's virginity, youth, illiteracy, and rusticity and
examine the ideologically-loaded textual constructions and uses of these elements of her
myth. Chapter Four is a consideration of her textually-constructed exclusion from the
ordinary run of humanity and of the implications of her strangeness and estrangement.
Chapter Five is focused upon representations of Joan's condemnation trial. I consider the
processes of narrativisation by which means documentary records become historical
accounts. I consider fictional reenactments of Joan's trial as 'texts within texts, ' engaged in a
double process of interrogation which allows Joan to be both persecuted for her
transgressiveness and elevated to the status of a saint. Chapter Six examines the central
importance of Joan's transgressiveness, exploring the disciplinary strategies employed by a
variety of film and play texts as they attempt to counter her troublesome ambiguousness, to
identify and define her, and to effect her epistemological assimilation. Chapter Seven is a
consideration of the similarities and differences between the myths of Joan of Arc and of
Christ and their representation in film. It explores the semantic association between
transgression and transcendence, between the 'unnatural' and the 'supernatural, ' with regard
to their crucial relation to the limits of discourse and epistemology. In Chapter Eight, I explore
myth as a discursive practice and examine the operations of myth and of ideology in relation
to the obsessive cultural reiteration of the myth of Joan of Arc.