Andrea Marie Frisch
Professor
Andrea Frisch’s research is focused on the relationship between historiographical and literary works in the social, cultural, and political context of the Reformation in early modern France.  She brings materials from what are now considered separate disciplines (law, historiography, theology, travel literature) into dialogue with specific literary works, as well as with theories about literary production and reception more generally, in order to provide a rich picture of the role that poetic literature played in this time of extreme social, political, and religious turbulence.
 
Frisch’s first book, The Invention of the Eyewitness: Witnessing and Testimony in Early Modern France (University of North Carolina Press, 2004), examines the links between the witness of the law courts (where procedures were undergoing rapid transformation within the increasingly centralized and bureaucratic French judicial system at the end of the 15th century), the figure of the witness in theological writings (highlighting the importance of this figure for Calvinist theology in 16th-century France), the eyewitness narrator of travel literature (again a privileged yet controversial figure in the age of the American encounter), and the use and representation of the witness-as-narrator in literary and philosophical texts like François Rabelais’s Pantagruel and Michel de Montaigne’s Essais.  The book’s arguments bring to the fore the extreme tension in this period between traditional ethical models of witnessing (for which a witness’s reputation and social standing were paramount), on the one hand, and a more strongly epistemic conception of witnessing (according to which eyewitnessing gained special prestige as a depersonalized, quasi-objective form of testimony), on the other. 
 
Frisch’s second book, Forgetting Differences: Tragedy, Historiography and the French Wars of Religion (Edinburgh University Press, 2015), is a study of the rhetoric of reconciliation in the wake of France’s Wars of Religion.  Taking account of the overlaps and disjunctions between juridical and theological conceptions of pardon, amnesty, and reconciliation, and opening up a broader inquiry into conceptions of memory and forgetting as they bore on representations of the Wars of Religion in historiography and theatrical tragedy from 1550–1630, the arguments in the book shed new light on the evolution of attitudes toward history in early modern Europe, provide an account of the emergence of the ideal of aesthetic distance as one of the foundations of French literary theory of the seventeenth century, and offer an original analysis of the role of emotion in the process of postwar reconciliation in early modern France. 
 
A broad investigation into the increasing divergence between the "memorable" and the "true" in early modern European letters is the backdrop for Frisch's current projects, which examine the expulsion of the arts of memory from historiographical rhetoric in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as a function of their association with religious polemic. 
 
More information available at https://umcp.academia.edu/AndreaFrisch
 
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Jimenez Hall
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