New York: Brentano's, 1930. First American edition. Folio (14 3/4 inches tall), original pictorial paper boards over quarter beige cloth spine, navy top edge, patterned endpapers. Spine tender but holding, corners bumped, slight wear to spine and edges of original boards. Very good indeed. Item #194
First American edition of Funck-Brentano's pictorial biography of Joan of Arc, gloriously illustrated with 40 color-printed plates by O. D. V. Guillonnet. The legend of the "Maid of Orleans" only grew after her execution in 1431 and she has long enjoyed a special relationship with France. Joan was pronounced innocent by the Inquisition and declared a martyr in 1456, adopted by the Catholic League in the 16th century wars against the Ottoman Turks, and declared a national symbol of France by Napoleon in 1803. The English long regarded her as a witch but fascination with Joan surged in the 19th and early 20th centuries in Britain and America as she was celebrated by Southey, Carlyle, De Quincey, Twain, Lang, Shaw, Sackville-West, Churchill and many others. After the carnage of World War I, the Holy See saw Joan as an emblem of Catholic unity and moved to erase any lingering Gallicanism, ease tensions with French Catholics, and repair relations with the Third Republic. "In 1920, Benedict XV canonized Joan of Arc, a symbolic gesture much appreciated after the complete rupture between church and state under Pius X. The government of France sent representatives to the canonization ceremony, a symbolic gesture much appreciated by the other side." (John O'Malley, A History of the Popes). Joan of Arc is now one of the patron saints of France. Her Feast Day is May 30 (the day she was burned at the stake) and she is the patron saint of Children. The plates are framed with decorative borders, captioned in French, and mounted on stubs. This edition was translated by Madame Régis Michaud. The last leaf, "Sources of the History of "Jeanne D'Arc," initialed by "Fr. F-B," discusses a number of recent biographies in French and English. First published in France in 1912 and reprinted in 1929. As splendid collection of plates in the original binding.