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 24
Louis ' s ordinance orders the use of the inquest exclusively for territories
administered by the King ( “ la domaine du Roi , et non dans la terre de ses
barons ” ; Isambert I : 284 ) . As Beaumanoir explains , feudal courts have the
option to ...
In other words , because they severely restricted who was eligible to testify at the
outset of an inquest , thirteenth - and fourteenth - century French lay courts do not
appear to have found it necessary to allow for objections to the testimony given ...
In order to understand why the introduction of the inquest did not immediately
alter the fundamentally ethical status of testimonial proof in medieval lay courts , it
is important to acknowledge that the potential “ rationality ” of inquisitional ...