... by Régine Pernoud:
In 1839, that learned scholar Vallet de Viriville assessed the number of works devoted to Joan of Arc at five hundred; fifty years later the figure had increased fivefold. Yet the interest she aroused in the nineteenth century is as nothing compared with the interest she has aroused since then. In France, her day has become both a religious and a national festival, Church and state finding themselves at one in raising her likeness on the altar and in the public square. More important, Joan has assumed for our age a living reality unimaginable a hundred years ago.
This being so, it is strange that a document of cardinal importance in Joan's story has been neglected. The detailed record of the trial in which Joan was condemned has been several times published and translated and is familiar in outline even to the general public; one cannot say the same of the record of the proceedings that led to her rehabilitation. This record is well known to specialists and has been much drawn upon by historians--generally at second hand--but the only edition today available is a transcription of the Latin version prepared by Jules Quicherat. It is an admirable work, but it has been unprocurable for many years, not only in the bookshops but also in the majority of libraries. As for translations, there is only the very fragmentary one made by Eugene O'Reilly  and used by Joseph Fabre, dating from 1868 and 1888 respectively;  and it is, moreover, stiff reading.
That is all that we have of the only great document--except the account of her trial and condemnation--that throws on Joan, her personality, and her times the direct light of living men's evidence, reflected by no distorting mirror of chronicle or tale. What is more, the account of her condemnation, though it gives the drama at Rouen, leaves the details of Joan's life in shadow, whereas the record of her rehabilitation presents all the stages and essential episodes, one by one, from her baptism in the parish church of Domremy to her burning. (It also shows the impression she made on the crowds.) And it is her childhood friends, her comrades in arms, her former judges, who come, one after another, to evoke her memory; those same persons who had been the actors, or at least the supernumeraries, in the drama of which she was the heroine.
What is more, this rehabilitation suit, staged a bare twenty years after Joan's execution, in itself forms a strange enough page in history; it dealt with events still recent and tinged with the miraculous, events of which men were then free to measure the repercussions. For if we are in a better position than her contemporaries to analyze their effect on the structure of Europe, there was not, on the other hand, a single peasant or townsman in France whose life would not have been changed, to a greater or lesser extent, by the outcome of those battles that decided whether France should remain attached to England or be free. Finally, the case that was being argued was a singularly moving one: a victim, a woman, a mere girl had been burnt alive by judicial decree, and the question was whether that victim was a heroine or a simple visionary--that is to say, a dangerous heretic.
The majority of historians have, inexplicably, failed to recognize the importance of the case. Many, looking through entirely modern spectacles, have been unable to see what it revealed to contemporaries. They have assumed the knowledge at that time of certain truths that, in fact, could not have come to light but for the suit for Joan's rehabilitation. It is, however, indisputable that the details, both of her career and her condemnation, were unknown to the great majority: the details of her heroism to people who had lived in the occupied zone, the details of her trial to the former inhabitants of free France. Facts that are absolutely familiar to us--the falsification or omission of certain documents in her trial--were totally unknown to those very men who undertook her rehabilitation. Finally, it is beyond doubt that public opinion, whether for or against Joan, was only inaccurately informed about her story, and that it was the suit that brought the truth to light. Some historians have even thought it possible to regard the whole rehabilitation suit as a cleverly staged play, put on either by the Church or the King. But if one takes the trouble to follow the stages of this affair, the development of which took no less than seven years and called together people from every district of France and from all social classes, it is clear that a piece of mummery on such a scale would have been difficult to carry through.
It will be up to the reader, in any case, to judge the facts from the documents of the case, which we intend to put before him in a translation as close as possible to the original text. There could be no question of publishing the complete record of the trial. With the account of each hearing and such legal documents as writs and summonses, it fills no less than octavo pages in Quicherat's edition--and even so he omitted the majority of the preliminary reports (nineteen in all) drawn up in preparation for the case, and likewise the Recollectio, or general résumé of the whole proceedings made by Jean Bréhal (the Inquisitor entrusted with its conduct), which alone takes up a whole volume. We have extracted only the parts that are to us most alive and most valuable--that is to say, the statements of the witnesses- suppressing only repetitions that would have made the book bulkier without adding anything new. We have, in addition, put back into the first person those statements that the scribe had transposed into the third on translating them into Latin--"The witness says that ... , etc."--in which he followed the habitual procedure in ecclesiastical courts.
 This was, of course, a translation into French.
 For these works, see the Bibliography.