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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Though humanistic studies of testimony in the twentieth century consistently ran
up against the limitations of the epistemic model , very few students of testimony
have been able to imagine witnessing in non - epistemic terms . “ The dominance
The vast majority of literary and cultural studies of witnessing approach the topic
from the standpoint of the first person in part because they ultimately focus on the
figure of the plaintiff ( Holocaust studies ) or that of the accused ( studies of ...
Comparative Studies in Society and History 23 ( 1984 ) : 519 - 538 . Schnapper ,
Bernard . “ Testes inhabiles : Les témoins reprochables dans l ' ancien droit
pénal . ” Revue de droit français et étranger 52 ( 1974 ) : 252 - 84 . Sébillot , Paul