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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Moreover , the first French eyewitness account of a voyage to America , Paulmier
de Gonneville ' s 1505 Relation authentique , is a juridical deposition . Like
Gonneville ' s Relation , the majority of eyewitness accounts of the New World ...
The ship was blown off course and ultimately landed in what the crew ' s account
of the trip , the Relation authentique , describes as a “ nouvelle terre des Indes , ”
and what subsequent scholarship has concluded was Brazil . When the Espoir ...
We can observe a modified instance of this inversion in the hierarchy of the
criteria used to evaluate witnesses and testimony in Gonneville ' s Relation
authentique . While Gonneville ' s reputation appears to have constituted the
legal basis for ...