New York: Creative Age Press, 1948. First edition. Octavo, uncut, original sky, navy blue cloth, uncut, original dust jacket. A nearly-fine book with mild bump to lower front board, closed creased tear to lower rear corner of bright, unclipped jacket. A nearlyfine copy. Item #935
"AN ACT OF HOMAGE TO THE MAID WHO THEN ENTHRALLED MY YOUNG IMAGINATION" Scarce first edition of this collective tribute to the enduring fascination with Saint Joan of Arc—complete with the original illustrated dust jacket depicting an armor-clad Maid of Orleans with banner and sword. Joan is celebrated with works of poetry, drama, and prose by figures ranging from Mark Twain, Friedrich Schiller, Vita Sackville West to Robert Hugh Benson, Hilaire Belloc, and Herbert Thurston. Wagenknecht, in his lengthy, three-part introduction, "The Glory of the Lillies" reminisces on a youthful devotion to Joan. This anthology, he says, is "essentially an act of homage to the Maid who then enthralled my young imagination." The works are divided into six thematic sections: 1. How it All Began (Twain, Schiller), 2. The Problem of the "Voices" (Robert Hugh Benson, V. Sackville-West, etc.), 3. Annus Mirabilis-and After (Hilaire Belloc, Anne Manning, Andrew Lang, etc.), 4. Reflections (Herbert Thurston), 5. Passion (Edward Garnett, Maria Lowell, etc.), 6. Five Hundred Years After (Henry van Dyke, Vachel Lindsay, Mgr. Baudrillart, etc.). Father Thurston, discussing the early treatment of Joan in English letters, mentions "the vile calumny about Joan having pleaded pregnancy" to escape death, and the denunciations of "the Maid...as a sorceress and an impudent impostor. There is only one English chronicle during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries which says nothing to her discredit. All honor be to John Rastell, the brother-in-law to Blessed Thomas More." The front panel of the jacket was illustrated by Robert F. Bolton. The back of the jacket depicts "the famous actresses who have triumphed in portrayals" of Joan—including Julia Marlowe, Geraldine Ferrar, Katharine Cornell, and Ingrid Bergman. With the editor's dedication: "To Geraldine Ferrar / in memory of a photographically eloquent 'Joan' and in token of a friendship which has endured for many years." A lovely copy.