Lights of Madness: In Search of Joan of Arc

Written by Preston Russel

Joan of Arc was burned alive in 1431, condemned at age 19 for her heresy which defied church and worldly authority. Since childhood, she claimed to have heard daily voices from God. These angelic messengers miraculously guided Joan to drive the English out of France and end the Hundred Years War. Author Preston Russell traces her extensive trial testimony, seeking to find her own voice from five hundred years ago. He also examines her many faces evolving in world literature, theatre, and film, extending from Shakespeare and Voltaire to Mark Twain and George Bernard Shaw.

Becoming a world symbol, Joan of Arc has been embraced by Napoleon, Nazi Germany, Marxist ideology, and current French political parties. The Catholic Church has also claimed her as a Saint. Competing interpretations have struggled to capture her enduring mystery. Was Joan really a military genius--or actually a man--or a liar, a lunatic, medieval religious reformer, fascist, communist, proto-feminist, heretic or saint? With his background as a physician, Dr. Russell concludes with diverse medical attempts to dissect Joan of Arc. Theories of insanity since Hippocrates are traced through to 20thcentury psychiatric analysis, among them Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Albert Schweitzer.

Yet beyond repeated medical probes, 21st century brain research is discovering surprising aspects of the mind’s dual awareness and subconscious powers. Neuroscientists are presently chasing the soulful ghost hidden within the machine of our physical reality, beginning to explore the metaphysical realm of universal spirituality. Finally, Russell’s search for Joan of Arc attempts an early reconciliation between science and religion.

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
Sign in or register to post comments.

More new titles

new titles

Girl in Dior

A biography docudrama marrying fiction and the story of one of the greatest couturier in history, "The Girl in Dior" is also a breathless and stunning presentation of Dior's best designs, rendered by bestselling artist Annie Goetzinger, seen for the first time on this side of the Atlantic (to be published by NBM publishing in February 2015).
new titles

Seedtime: Notebooks, 1954-79

Seedtime is an especially good introduction to this leading francophone Swiss author, containing the poet’s observations of the natural world and his reflections on literature, art, music, and the human condition. In these explorations, he returns again and again to the fundamental, focusing his prodigious talents on describing the exact shade of light on a meadow, the sound of running water, the color of cherry and almond blossoms, or the cry of a bird in the stillness before dawn. In this translation by Tess Lewis, English readers will finally be able to join this poet as we follow in his footsteps of fifty years ago and find the still-viable seeds of his delicate and tenacious verse.
new titles

Levinas and the Night of Being

Can we say that metaphysics is over? That we live, as post-phenomenology claims, after “end of metaphysics”? Through a close reading of Levinas's masterpiece "Totality and Infinity", Raoul Moati shows that things are much more complicated.