Pope Joan is a novel by American writer Donna Woolfolk Cross. It is based on the medieval legend of Pope Joan. For the most part this novel is the story of. Start by marking “Pope Joan” as Want to Read: She is the legend that will not die–Pope Joan, the ninth-century woman who disguised herself as a man and rose to become the only female ever to sit on the throne of St. Peter. Play Book Tag: (Trim) Pope Joan - Donna Woolfolk Cross - 4. "Pope Joan has all the elements one wants in a historical drama – love, sex, violence, duplicity, and long-buried secrets. Cross has written an engaging book.
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usaascvb.info: Pope Joan (): Emmanual Royidis, Lawrence Durrell: Books. A Synopsis of Pope Joan For a thousand years, her existence has been denied. She is the legend that will not die--Pope Joan, a controversial figure of historical. Q. Most people have never heard of Pope Joan. How did you first learn of her existence? A. I learned about Joan quite by accident. I was reading a book in.
Cross succeeds admirably, grounding her fast-moving tale in a wealth of rich historical detail. A Novel Q. Most people have never heard of Pope Joan. How did you first learn of her existence? I learned about Joan quite by accident. But the reference piqued my curiosity, so I checked the Catholic Encyclopedia.
To my astonishment, there was an entry on Joan—a woman who lived disguised as a man and rose to become Pope of the Church in the ninth century. Far from it. The Church position on Joan is that she was a late invention of Protestant reformers eager to expose papist corruption. Why would men devoted to the Holy See invent such a story? A bust of Joan stood for centuries, undisputed, alongside those of other Popes in the Cathedral of Siena until Protestants began to make use of it to discredit the papacy.
Arguably the earliest example on record of a sex-change operation! One can make a strong case for her actual historical existence—and many scholars have. But given the obscurity and confusion of the times, it is impossible to determine with certainty whether Joan existed or not.
The truth of what happened in A. If I had to place a bet, however, I would bet that she lived and was Pope for two and a half years. How would it have been possible for a woman to pass herself off as a man for so long and under such circumstances?
Actually, women are very good at male disguise. History is rife with examples of successful female transvestites. More than three hundred women are known to have fought disguised as men in the American Civil War—a difficult feat to pull off in the close quarters of an army camp. In the twelfth century, St. Hildegund, using the name Joseph, became a brother of Schonau Abbey and lived undiscovered among the brethren until her death many years later.
In the 18th century, Margaret Ann Bulkley rose to the rank of inspector general in the British army under the name Dr. James Barry; a skilled surgeon which makes her the first British woman doctor , her sex was again not discovered until her death—after which the British army sealed her records for one hundred years.
Personal hygiene was non-existent; most people slept in their clothes and rarely, if ever, bathed.
Of course she would have had to deal with menstrual blood, facial hair, and other issues—but so did legions of other successful female cross-dressers. The bottom line?
It can be done because it has been done, over and over again, throughout time. As your novel makes clear, there was considerable hazard in such an imposture. What would drive a woman to take such a risk? Life in the ninth century was especially difficult for women.
It was a very misogynistic age. Menstrual blood was believed to turn wine sour, make crops barren, make iron rust, and infect dog bites with an incurable poison. With few exceptions, women were treated as perpetual minors, with no legal or property rights.
By law, they could be beaten by their husbands. Rape was treated as a form of minor theft.
Small wonder, then, that a woman would chose to disguise herself as a man in order to escape so bleak an existence. The light of hope kindled by women such as Joan shone only flickeringly in a great darkness, but it was never entirely to go out. Opportunities were available for women strong enough to dream. Pope Joan is the story of one of those dreamers. Pope Joan is a perennial pick for book clubs, and you are involved in book group discussions sometimes up to four times a week!
What about this novel resonates so well? What is needed for good book group discussion is a subject that leads to lively, engrossing, deeply engaged conversation. Herein lies the appeal of Pope Joan. What effect have they had on the Episcopal Church?
For love of a child? Are such sacrifices justified? These are open-ended questions with no one right answer. Open-ended questions and complex problems that elicit strong feelings— these are what spark good book group discussion.
There has been a rise in interest in Pope Joan recently, with a forthcoming major motion picture and two different theatrical productions in L. After her convalescence she goes to Rome, where she becomes the personal physician to the Pope, Sergius, a weak man easily led by his venal brother Benedict. Joan attempts to guide Sergius so that the papacy becomes a force for good.
Benedict resents her influence and attempts to frame her for breaking her vow of chastity.
When the Frankish Emperor Lothar marches on Rome, Benedict flees with funds intended to try to placate him, and Joan is restored to her former place of authority. Benedict is apprehended by Gerold, now serving Lothar, and executed on Sergius' orders. Meanwhile, Gerold accidentally meets and recognizes Joan. He keeps her secret, but declares he loves her.
Eventually they consummate their relationship and Joan becomes pregnant. Lothar and Anastasius charge Gerold, now commander of the Pope's militia, with corruption.
Joan's quick thinking saves Gerold and they realise they must flee the city before her condition becomes obvious. Joan delays, insisting on staying until Easter as the people need her. Anastasius plans to seize the throne and realises he needs to remove Gerold before he can attack Joan directly. During a papal procession, Gerold is lured into a trap, stabbed from behind and killed.
Already in pain, Joan runs to be with him but then miscarries in public and dies from blood loss. An epilogue reveals that Anastasius indeed took the papacy but could not hold it.
He gained revenge of a sort by obliterating Joan from history, excluding her from his book on the lives of the Popes. However, an archbishop secretly makes restitution by restoring Joan's papacy in a copy of the book he makes himself—for the archbishop is also secretly a woman, the daughter of the peasant family saved by Joan many years earlier.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Plot [ edit ] Joan, the daughter of a priest and his Saxon wife, is born in as the last of three children. The New York Times.
Lord, Lewis A bestseller revives the outlandish tale of Joan".