Voltaire: La Pucelle d'Orléans [The Maid of Orleans] (2524 words)

Jennifer Tsien (University of Virginia)
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Context

La Pucelle d’Orléans is a mock-epic poem by Voltaire about Joan of Arc, with verses in decasyllables. The first authorized edition appeared in 1762 in twenty cantos, but later editions contained twenty-one.

Voltaire began composing the poem at the instigation of his friend, influential courtier, and notorious libertine, the duc de Richelieu (great-nephew of the famous cardinal). They were discussing Joan of Arc, specifically the epic poem that Jean Chapelain had written about her in the previous century, La Pucelle, ou la France délivrée (1656). Voltaire, like most readers, considered Chapelain’s attempt at writing a French Christian version of the ancient epic a literary …

Citation: Tsien, Jennifer. "La Pucelle d'Orléans". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 July 2021 [https://staging.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=40543, accessed 06 December 2022.]

40543 La Pucelle d'Orléans 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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