Mark Twain, an IEE. I absolutely LOVED his Joan of Arc. Mark Twain absolutely loved Joan, too - He considered this book to be the pinnacle of his literary works. (excerpt from that article, here):
A young boy approached Mark Twain one day, after spotting the famous author standing alone on a stone bridge in Redding, Conn. Twain was a familiar presence in the community, and the boy had awaited such a chance to express his admiration. “I was glad that he was alone,” Coley Taylor recalled years later in an article in American Heritage. “I had wanted to tell him how much I had enjoyed Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.””
But Twain’s response to the young boy’s praise was shocking. “I had never seen him so cross. I can see him yet, shaking that long forefinger at me,” Taylor recalled. “You shouldn’t read those books about bad boys!” the author scolded. “Now listen to what an old man tells you. My best book is my Recollections of Joan of Arc. You are too young to understand and enjoy it now, but read it when you are older. Remember then what I tell you now. Joan of Arc is my very best book.
[Mark Twain was very much like IEE N.C. Wyeth in this way, minimizing his own (renowned) work].
My experience reading this book was very much as described in an Amazon top review:
"When I first picked up Twain’s Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, I was somewhat daunted by its length; by the time I finished it, however, I wished that it were longer. In fact, I read slowly, taking care not to skip over phrases as I often do, so that I could savor it for as long as possible. This story is simply that lovely. Or, better said, the story itself is not lovely, recounting as it does the engineered fall of a young woman, but the writing, and the characters are so lush and lively and pathos-inspiring, that I wished I might keep reading about them."
Many artists were inspired by Joan of Arc, including Howard Pyle, mentioned above. Pyle's illustrates Joan was as a gentle girl (vs. the tough, manly girl you would expect and how movies have depicted her), which is the accurate depiction from Twain's book. Twain's book is accurate because he devoted 12 years to the book, as, because of multiple trial testimonies, we know this is how Joan was described in her day. God does use the unlikely ones (like choosing Moses to speak for him, who described himself as "slow of speech and tongue.") Joan was described as gentle, feminine and retiring. A friend of the fairies as a child, and she like to sew at home as a teen. So not what you would expect for what she did! She, a simple peasant, is considered the most well-documented person of her time, on account of the trials she endured, starting from a young age, before she went off to war. So Twain had mountains of documentation to work with.
Howard Pyle paintings of Joan of Arc:
Franck Schoonover paintings (he also studied in the elite group with with N.C. Wyeth under Howard Pyle):
(2nd one is "Gooseberry Spring" from Twain's Joan of Arc - his description of Joan's childhood and what she said of fairies is delightful:
Paintings from other artists::