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 32
The fact that Las Casas puts his eyewitnesses on par with witnesses who simply
attest to a belief indicates that eyewitnessing , regardless of the prestige it may
have enjoyed in the law courts as a way of knowing , was not synonymous with ...
We cannot therefore simply appeal to ... complexities of medieval manuscript
production in general , or those of the compositional situation of these two travel
accounts in particular , but simply to avoid excessively cumbersome formulations
Clearly , the New World eyewitness occults the role his own acts of interpretation
must have played in such exchanges . The possibility that these New World
bodies signify differently from European bodies is simply never entertained ,