Joan of Arc: from far-right symbol to queer muse

Remember, it was at the Tribunal des Flagrants délires on France Inter, in 1982. Claude Villers, the host of the show asks Jean-Marie Le Pen what is his favorite historical character. “Jeanne d’Arc” he replies straight away. Three years later, on May 1, the president of the National Front pays a vibrant tribute to the Maid, who died at the stake in 1431: “You are the symbol of the eternity of our people and of its youth. We give you every year more appointments until the day when we will have restored France in its dignity and in its freedom.

The National Front is not the first to privatize the one that “kicked the English out of France” to make it the symbol of the country’s defense against the invader… In April 1920, the writer and deputy Maurice Barrès, anti-Semite notorious, tabled a bill for the institution of a national holiday in honor of Joan of Arc. The Maid of Orleans is propelled figurehead of the identity struggle against all those supposed to want to enslave France: foreigners, Jews and Freemasons. From Charles Maurras, founder of Action française, to Edouard Drumont, author of Jewish France, everyone is there.

Under the Vichy regime, Joan is widely celebrated. In 1942, in a speech to young people, the Minister of Education, Abel Bonnard, did not hesitate to draw a parallel with Marshal Pétain: “If Joan of Arc came back, she would go straight to him to recognize him and greet him and they would just (…)

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