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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6 For an overview of the historical evolution of the oath in various Western legal
systems from Greco - Roman antiquity to the present , see H . Silving , “ The Oath
. ” ? A more concise description of the sixteenth - century criminal inquest can be
The Roman source had said only that témoins instrumentaires surpassed the
written act they had witnessed ; but the superiority of witnesses ments went
beyond a purely ideological attachment to juridical tradition 117 CHAPTER
FOUR: THE ...
In this period , writes Lévy , the legists simply adopted the principle to all
occasions , and considered Roman cases where written proof was represented
as preferable to witness testimony as so many exceptions to the general rule that
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THE WITNESS AND THE JUDGE
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