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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He is briefly described in the prologue to the account of his travels as “ a wise
and learned citizen of Venice ” ; however , the rest of the book lends virtually no
support to that claim , and indeed effectively serves to undermine it . Whereas ...
The description of the departure of the Utopian troops invokes a scene from the
Old Testament : “ Ainsi commencerent ŕ ... Now the stage is truly set for the
culmination of Pantagruel ' s “ epic New Testament , ” as Duval has described it .
... analogy is thus that the Eucharistic bread and wine are neither essential nor
arbitrary . The Eucharist is explicitly at issue in the French colony at Guanabara
described in Jean de Léry ' s Histoire , both as a point of contention between Léry
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THE WITNESS AND THE JUDGE
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