Voltaire’s satirical poem about Jeanne d’Arc, first published in 1755, was an amusing burlesque containing a fair amount of licentious text. Not surprisingly, therefore, the plates are of a risqué nature.
“La Pucelle” became one of his most popular books: 17 illustrated editions were published in the 18th-century alone. View 21 engraving from the Jean-Michel Moreau school 1819
“The Pucelle” was Voltaire’s ribald, versified history of Jeanne d’Arc: “my Jeanne” as he often called it, and at one the plague and pleasure of his life: “the epic he was fitted for,” said Edward Fitzgerald, “poor in invention, I think, but wonderful for easy wit.”
Begun in 1730, it soon became a source of danger: cantos, read aloud to a few delighted friends in the Cirey bathroom, mysteriously found their way into print.
In 1755 an incorrect edition was published in Paris, and was publicly burnt there and at Geneva, its printer being rewarded with nine years at the galleys. The author himself–though he often had occasion to allude to it as “that cursed ‘Pucelle’”–never suffered anything worse than frights from it.
For those who didn’t finish the game, I would strongly urge them to do so. Though the story seems silly and farcial at first, it becomes really good in the last 4 chapters. Unlike Luc Besson’s alternate interpretation of Joan of Arc, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0151137/ , this one goes for happy ending and redemption through love.
For those too lazy (or too busy) to bother, you can read the full transcript from the first FAQ by Crimson Phantom.
Luc Besson portraits the greatest heroine of his country as someone out for vengeance, and who is at best hallucinating, even delusional. The long sequence where Dustin Hoffman questions her sanity or whether she was really sent by God should be quite provocative in a country where she is still revered and served as the rallying symbol for the Right.