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.
Results 1-3 of 35
... speculative et augmentative ” in nature . It does not establish “ perfecta scientia
, ” but a “ probabilis certitudo ” that produces a “ plena fides , plena credulitas ” on
the part of the judge ( see LÚvy 34 THE INVENTION OF THE EYEWITNESS.
Rather than presupposing rational actors whose aim is to construct a
Habermasian " public sphere , ” medieval folklaw procedure required parties who
had established ethical relations with one another . 10 In order to be eligible to
... a witness ' s social standing and his perceived character ( the classic grounds
of credibility in oral societies ) remained the primary grounds on which a juridical
witness would establish the credibility of his testimony , and the only grounds on