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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When it became clear that the discourse of practical experience required a
rhetorical and philosophical justification that it had previously done very well
without ( certainly in merchant and seafaring circles , as the writings of Columbus
and of ...
... that those judgments were no longer capable of establishing satisfactory
versions of the truth . Certainly , hearsay persisted ( and persists ) as a site of
cultural authority , but as it became less exclusively associated with actual
hearing and ...
27 It is certainly the case that the fundamental dissimilarity between the human
and the divine , and thus between earthly and spiritual food , is never abolished
in Calvin ' s sacrament of the Eucharist ; his analogy of bread to body does not ...
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THE WITNESS AND THE JUDGE
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