Andrea Marie Frisch

Andrea Frisch received her PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures from UC Berkeley.  Her research on literary and historiographical works in the social, cultural, and political context of the Protestant Reformation has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, and numerous research libraries and centers of advanced study in the US and Europe.  In 2021-2022, she will be a fellow at the Hamburg Institute for Advanced Study. 

        The Invention of the Eyewitness: Witnessing and Testimony in Early Modern France (University of North Carolina Press, 2004) is an examination of the links between the witness of the French law courts, the figure of the witness in theological writings, the eyewitness narrator of Francophone travel literature, and the witness-as-narrator in French literary and philosophical texts in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.  The book’s analyses highlight the tense coexistence between traditional ethical models of witnessing inherited from medieval precedents, on the one hand, and an epistemic conception of witnessing, according to which eyewitnessing gained special prestige as a depersonalized, quasi-objective form of testimony, on the other.

        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 civil wars (1562-1598).  Taking contemporaneous juridical and theological conceptions of pardon, amnesty, and reconciliation as a point of departure, the book identifies parallels between historiographical method and tragic aesthetics in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century France.  The tandem evolution of these discourses was centrally conditioned by the challenge of representing civil war in a way that would be perceived simultaneously as truthful and as non-polemical. 

       Current projects include Dispassionate Truths:  The Rise of Unmemorable History, which tracks the relationship between the “memorable” and the “true” in the larger body of early modern European historiography, and The Library of the Enlightened Ethnographer, which examines the reception of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century European travel literature in eighteenth-century anthropology and ethnography.

Upcoming talks:

“Unfree Historiography: Recounting the French Wars of Religion from the Protestant Perspective,” Renaissance Society of America Conference, April 2021

Co-organizer and Speaker, Seminar session on “Memory and the Memorable: Early Modern France,” ACLA, April 2021

“Aubigné’s Addressees,” symposium in honor of the first complete English translation of Agrippa d’Aubigné’s Tragiques, Oxford University,  June 2021

“The Massacre at Paris,” Conference on ‘Paris, a New Rome: Fatal Return in European Imperialism’s Primal Scene,’ University of Chicago Center in Paris, June 22-24, 2021

Recent and forthcoming publications:

“Pointing Fingers: Indexical Tables in the Essais (Simon Goulart, Abel L’Angelier, and Henri V Estienne)” in Global Montaigne (eds. Amy C. Graves and Jean Balsamo).  Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2021, pp. 503-518.

“Jean de la Taille: tragédie et remontrance sous Charles IX,” Les remontrances d’Ancien régime :  art de gouverner et contestation légitime (eds. Paul-Alexis Mellet et Ullrich Langer). Paris: Garnier, forthcoming 2021.

“Heresy and Sedition in Pierre de Ronsard’s Discours des misères de ce temps (1562) and Pierre Boton’s La France divisée (1595),” Sedition: Subversive and Controversial Literature in Europe, 1500-1700 (eds. John O’Brien and Marc Schachter), Brepols, forthcoming 2021.

“Humanist Uncertainty vs. Neoclassical Inevitability: Tragic Aesthetics from the Sixteenth to the Seventeenth Century,” MLA Approaches to Teaching French Classicism (eds. Hélène Bilis and Ellen McClure), forthcoming 2021.

“The Shifting Grounds of Comparison in the French Renaissance: The Case of Louis Le Roy,” Practicing Comparison (eds. Angelika Epple, Walter Erhart, Johannes Grave), Bielefeld UP, 2020, 193-206.

“Forgotten Memories. Why Should We Remember How Early Modern Europeans Remembered?”  Sixteenth Century Journal 50:1 (50th Anniversary Issue, “Taking the Temperature of Early Modern Studies”), Spring 2019, 183-188.

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