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Shaw read the works of many writers who had written about Joan of Arc, including those of Shakespeare, Voltaire, Schiller, Tom Taylor, Percy Mackaye, Anatole France, Mark Twain, and others; these writings included a political drama, a melodrama, a mock-heroic poem, four historical studies, a novel, three more plays, and two critical biographies. Some of the works praise the young French maiden, and some are very critical of her. Religious literature, especially that written in France, claimed that Joan was a saint.
The popular Anglo-Burgundian estimate of Joan, current in England until the seventeenth century, was Hobenshed's Chronicle, which painted Joan as a harlot and witch whose power came from the devil. Shaw blended both views of Joan into his play. Although Shaw painted a largely positive view of the French heroine, the conspirators, especially de Stogumber, expressed the anti-Joan sentiment that lingered in England for so long.