The Invention of the Eyewitness: Witnessing and Testimony in Early Modern France
In an examination of eyewitness travel writing in thirteenth- through sixteenth-century France, Andrea Frisch studies the figure of the witness at a historical juncture and in a cultural context in which that figure is generally thought to have begun to assume a recognizably modern form and function.
Whereas most accounts of early modern travel literature tend to read modern presuppositions about witnessing and testimony back into the material, Frisch approaches the early modern witness in terms of the cultural legacy of the Middle Ages. Through primary readings in law and theology, Frisch documents the tension between the ethical witness (the characteristic witness of premodernity) and the epistemic witness (the modern witness) and explores the impact of that tension on the figure of the witness in pre- and early modern French-language travel literature.
Results 1-3 of 39
Subsequently , two purportedly eyewitness accounts , one by the Catholic André
Thévet in his 1575 Cosmographie Universelle , the other by Léry in his Histoire (
first published in 1578 ) , competed to give the authoritative story of the colony .
Léry ' s prologue thus resurrects the medieval “ found manuscript " topos where
we would least expect it – in an ... There is a twist , however , since , unlike Arthur
' s clerks , Léry does not claim to be reconstructing an originally oral relation .
We have already seen this “ monologic dialogue ” at work in Léry ' s prologue : as
a result of the roundabout history of its composition – a history Léry takes the
trouble to relate at great length – every passage of the Histoire explicitly becomes