Mark Twain Writing Styles in Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc

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Point of View

Twain uses a fictional character, the Sieur Louis de Conte, as a limited narrator from whose point of view the historical fiction is presented. The author provides two hints that he is the narrator—the initials SLC are his (Samuel L. Clemens) and the French word "conte" means story. Twain does this to disguise his authorship during the initial serialized publishing run and thereby gain more credibility for the story as a biography. However, his fairly liberal use of fictional scenes and characters brings the book to the level of historical fiction.

Louis grows up with Joan, serves as her secretary during her military campaigns and works as an assistant to the court transcriber during her final trials. He also witnesses Joan's execution. This narrows the reader's view to a single interpretation of her life and character, a situation most biographies avoid. For historical fiction...

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This section contains 829 words
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Buy the Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc Study Guide
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