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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A third relationship , that of narrator to story world , is also implied in these
opening phrases . We are made to understand that our narrator has never
actually lived in this world ; rather , his ability to narrate comes from the fact that
he already ...
As an epic narrator defined by his capacity to know the story he is telling ,
Alcofribas has no trouble in chapter sixteen ... ability to give a complete account
of events – the aim of the narrators of both medieval epic and romance - appears
to fail .
Instead , the hero himself must tell his narrator that victory has been won . The
entire story of this conquest is relegated to one line spoken by Pantagruel upon
Alcofribas ' s exit from the mouth - world : “ Quand il me apperceut , il me