Thursday, May 16, 2019

In a final flurry of inquisitiveness about the history we're about to represent on stage, I've been questing to find out about the Inquisition.

Which is a funny endeavour as surely everyone has heard of the Inquisition and I know it's Spanish and somehow fanatical and something to do with the church. But in actuality, I don't know anymore than that. 

We have a stern character in the play who is called The Inquisitor. We don't know anything of him or his background, beyond knowing that he's sent from Spain. But he is all sorts of mean to Joan and seems to delight in creepily stamping all over her. So I am eager to find out how historically accurate Anouilh's representation is. If only to allow us to ignore all we find as it's not anywhere near the script. 

So I finally got round to looking up some books. (My history tutors would turn in their not yet graves as I go to the Guardian and find out what they've reviewed and use that as my start. How populist.)

I ordered these books from the library. My dear local library that has given me books on testosterone and gender and 13 year old boys with autism and books by Hilary Mantel and all the goodness. 

And one turned up last week. Some fat tome about the Spanish Inquisition. I poured over it as I walked home from the library, prompting a passer-by to call cheerily that this must be a good book. I resisted the temptation to flaunt the (erudite in comparison to my usual diet) cover at her, therefore confirming my status as lunatic and darted home. 

To discover that the Inquisition in Spain was set up at least fifty years after little Joany was burnt. (Which took place in 1431.)


I felt alarmed. My world shifted and rocked slightly on its foundations. Surely Anouilh wasn't writing lies?

I anxiously turned back to the internet. At the library. Somehow certain that their book catalogue would give me a more accurate read on events than Google. Though in fact, through incompetence, I failed to access the library's book catalogue on their in-library computers and was too embarrassed to ask so I ended up using Google in the library.

And discovered that the Inquisition in France sprung up in medieval times.

Phew. Ok. So that's all good. 

So then (trusty Guardian) I found a book on the Inquisition in the middle years in France. I hurried to the librarian with quaking heart. Could he find it for me?

(I need to get off the bus and go to work - so you'll have to wait in suspense!)


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