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.
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Ramusio goes on to explain that the Polo family did not recognize their kin
because the returning travelers appeared to be more Tartar than Venetian . “ Si
trovavan questi gentiluomini , per la lunghezza e sconci del viaggio , e per le
Though there exist no documents to prove conclusively whether Ramusio ' s
reconstruction of the Polos ' return to Venice is anything but imaginative , the
scenario he imagines is extremely suggestive . While Polo ' s account itself
Ramusio ' s sixteenth - century edition was the first to present Polo as a
geographical authority , at the very moment when Mandeville ' s fortunes began
to wane ; after receiving a half - hearted endorsement in early editions of the
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THE WITNESS AND THE JUDGE
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