Studies for J


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She declines their offer. One of them helps her up. She sits on the bed, and all those taking part in the session crowd round her, saying that she must adopt the dress which is appropriate to her sex, if she wants to obtain so great a blessing, and if she wants to live up to her pious feelings.

When a citizen, on the banks of the Seine, stopped the casket of William the Conqueror, accusing him of having stolen his field, and permitted the corpse of that prince to be taken to its tomb only after his property had been restored him; when don Henry, judged by the Estates of Castille, underwent first in effigy, then in reality, the most ignominious degradation; when Jeanne of Naples was formally accused of murdering her husband; when French kings, summoned before those assemblies of bishops and lords which called themselves representative of the people, were deposed and condemned to have their hair cropped and pass the rest of their lives in a cloister; when Don Alphonso and a son of Gustavus Vasa were pronounced deposed from their thrones and forever deprived of liberty, the first by the Estates of Portugal, the second by the Estates of Sweden; when Charles I lost his head on the scaffold; when all these princes, and so many others expiated their crimes by a shameful or tragic end…

There is nothing to be done about this woman's arrogance. Remove that sharp part of mouth, do away with bitter part of tongue, after all, must still try to make something new of this, into daggers of light, into brilliance or shattered refraction. Examining evenly, justly, or leaning into precise weight of things, of touch which hangs like weight around neck or wrist and still is not heavy enough.. In any case. Others may march in, at times less or more opportune. With gloved hands or may appear faulty, direct, stripped, shamed, or empty. Or may offer one small green stem, root yanked, clutching dirt, or may appear, rootlessly. As she appeared, in aisle, blocking and nervously shifting, testing, posturing to think for a moment, angling at something less than clear: if I remember correctly you even felt judged by her on occasion.

Some passages excerpted from: Carl Theodor Dreyer, The Passion of Joan of Arc, published screenplay, 1964. Speech of Jean-Baptiste Maihle, 7 November 1792, Speeches at the trial of Louis XVI.




US : Vereinigte Staaten




engl. Originalton