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Visions of the Maid

Joan of Arc in American Film and Culture
Robin Blaetz


BUY Cloth · 304 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813920757 · $65.00 · Nov 2001
BUY Paper · 304 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813920764 · $25.00 · Nov 2001
BUY Ebook · 304 pp. · ISBN 9780813921952 · $25.00 · Nov 2001

Representations of Joan of Arc have been used in the United States for the past two hundred years, appearing in advertising, cartoons, popular song, art, criticism, and propaganda. The presence of the fifteenth-century French heroine in the cinema is particularly intriguing in relation to the role of women during wartime. Robin Blaetz argues that a mythic Joan of Arc was used during the First World War to cast a medieval glow over an unpopular war, but that she only appeared after the Second World War to encourage women to abandon their wartime jobs and return to the home.

In Visions of the Maid, Blaetz examines three pivotal films—Cecil B. DeMille's 1916 Joan the Woman, Victor Fleming's 1948 Joan of Arc, and Otto Preminger's 1957 Saint Joan—as well as addressing a broad array of popular culture references and every other film about the heroine made or distributed in the United States. Blaetz is particularly concerned with issues of gender and the ways in which Joan of Arc's androgyny, virginity, and sacrificial victimhood were evoked in relation to the evolving roles of women during war throughout the twentieth century.

Reviews:


Visions of the Maid is sure to become the standard reference as Joan of Arc continues to be transformed afresh in future films and popular culture venues.

Susan E. Linville, University of Colorado at Denver, author of Feminism, Film, Fascism: Women's Auto/biographical Film in Postwar Germany

In her study of so forceful a figure as Joan of Arc, Blaetz adds compelling evidence to the argument that Western discourse has worked historically to render woman as object rather than subject—and that case is particularly strong because of Blaetz's excellent scholarship.

Alan NadelRensselaer Polytechnic Institute, author of Flatlining on the Field of Dreams: Cultural Narratives in the Films of President Reagan's America

About the Author: 

Robin Blaetz is Visiting Associate Professor in the Film Studies Program at Mount Holyoke College.

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