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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... been legally deposed ; the only opportunity to challenge a witness came
during the initial confrontation of the parties that preceded the inquest proper .
Beaumanoir describes some exceptions to the procedure I have just outlined ,
In the medieval procedure Beaumanoir describes , the oath constitutes an
evidentiary frontier : before taking the oath , the capacity of the witness to give in
evidence – and thus , his very status as a witness – is in suspension , pending
ben describes testimony in terms that recall LÚvinas ' s Saying – as a language
that cannot be understood in terms of signification ( the Said ) . For LÚvinas , as
for Agamben , the testimonial aspect of existence is deeply bound up with the ...