The Return Of Martin Guerre Summary

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In Natalie Z. Davis' reconstruction of the famous case of identity theft in sixteenth-century France, following the eight-year absence Martin Guerre, for three years, Arnaud is accepted by family and friends as the authentic Martin Guerre, that is, until his dispute with his uncle and father in law Pierre Guerre over the family inheritance, essentially questioning their Basque customs. Consequently, Pierre Guerre accuses Arnaud of being an impostor, ultimately leading to a second trial in which the court condemns Arnaud to death upon the arrival of the real Martin Guerre. Concluding the case, the court declared Bertrande (Martin’s wife) and the Guerre family victims in the trial. Yet, unlike the participants of the case, Davis does not conform to the idea of Bertrande as a mere victim in the case, but rather, an accomplice motivated by love, social standing, and religion. In framing her book on The Return of Martin Guerre, Davis not only provides a chronological account of events, but also a psychological analysis and interpretation of this isolated case as a representation of the lives of the French peasantry. Often, historians question whether Davis’ interpretations trespass the …show more content…

In the humanities conception, history is described as the study of how people process and document the human experience as a function of culture, religion, economics, and overall human affairs. Psychology, the study of the human mind and its functions, is in essence, the driving factor of history, as it serves as the explanation for what causes humans to participate or perform certain actions within a given context or culture. In combining both history and psychology, Natalie Z. Davis provides two possible versions, not just one narrow perspective. In this sense, Davis provides a holistic historical interpretation, not limited to

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