02 June, 2010

Bernanos on Jeanne d'Arc

St. Joan of Arc is probably one of my all-time favorite people, as may have come out at various points in the past on this blog. So when I discovered that the French author on whom I'll almost certainly be writing my thesis was not only married to one of the only living descendants of that saint's brother, but also was likewise fascinated by her character and by her sudden and still (to my mind) almost inexplicably mysterious appearance in history (I can't stop to explain now: just think for a minute, if you consider Catholic saints anything real--God getting involved in politics? But that can't be the explanation...why was she there, and what precisely was she doing?), well, given this, I was happy indeed. In fact, one of the first quotes of his I've come across in my preliminary scouring of the internet for all thing related to Georges Bernanos is from an essay of his about her. (An essay, which, I'm sorry to say, is almost impossible to find: the best I could scout out was a version which I could order from France for 20 euros and a ludicrous shipping charge.) Here's said quote:

"Just when the old man raises a finger to set a thousand typist in action, just when the peace of the world is about to emerge from all this machinery, in comes a young girl, mocking and tender, who belongs to no one, and whose soft voice answers the political theologians with old sayings and proverbs, after the manner of shepherds. The democratic abbes of the illustrious University of Paris, with their dream of some sort of universal republic; the distinguished pacifist prelates, dazzled by the dollar rate and impressed by the solidity of the good Burgundian coins; the Carmelite Eustache, making up to the Communist flayers of the Butchers' Corporation; the graduates of the Rue Clos-Bruneau; the clerics of the Rouen Chapter and those of the Chapter of M. Julie Benda - all these old men, many of them under thirty, look enviously at this little France who is so fresh, so mischievous, who is awfully afraid of being burnt, but still more afraid of telling a lie."

No comments: