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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In mid - sixteenth - century practice , according to Imbert , the confrontation with
the accused and the concurrent objections of witnesses virtually never preceded
the production of the deposition . Essentially following the ordinance of 1539 ...
Pasquier describes the same order of events , and presents the face - to - face
encounter of witness and accused as a possibility , not a necessity : if the
accused denies the facts about which he is interrogated , the judge must bring
Though Article 153 of the ordinance of Villers - Cotteret specifies that the judge
must confront the accused only with those witnesses that stand by their
accusation when the judge reads their deposition out to them , Imbert says that ...