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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This opening phrase , then , has the effect of controlling and containing , within
the language of the story itself , the encounter between the “ gentlemen ” of the
audience and the chroniques . A third relationship , that of narrator to story world ,
Despite his claim to have been Pantagruel ' s companion , Alcofribas does not
appear as a character inside the story he is telling until chapter seventeen ,
where we find him walking down the streets of Paris with Pantagruel ' s friend ,
But this summary is somewhat misleading . The story it tells is not exactly the
story that Alcofribas tells us . The triumphant conquest of the Almyrodes is never
actually reported – much less described in any detail – by our intrepid narrator .