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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ly accepted or rejected according to criteria related primarily to his social
standing . It was only after a witness ' s status had been determined in this
manner that his knowledge could come into play . If a witness was not
disqualified during the ...
In any case in all of the royal courts in Poitou , we follow the procedure according
to which , at the time the case is put before the judge , one can legally bring in
witnesses and have them take the oath in the presence of the opposing party ' s ...
... but bend and disguise them according to the way they have seen them ; and to
give credence to their judgment and attract you to it , they are prone to add
something to their matter , to stretch it out and amplify it . We need a man either