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Publisher's Summary

The Inventive Peasant Arnaud du Tilh had almost persuaded the learned judges at the Parlement of Toulouse, when on a summer's day in 1560 a man swaggered into the court on a wooden leg, denounced Arnaud, and reestablished his claim to the identity, property, and wife of Martin Guerre.

The astonishing case captured the imagination of the Continent. Natalie Zemon Davis reconstructs the lives of ordinary people, in a sparkling way that reveals the hidden attachments and sensibilities of nonliterate 16th-century villagers.

We learn what happens when common people get involved in the workings of the criminal courts in the ancient regime, and how judges struggle to decide who a man was in the days before fingerprints and photographs. We sense the secret affinity between the eloquent men of law and the honey-tongued village impostor, a rare identification across class lines.

Deftly written to please both the general public and specialists, The Return of Martin Guerre will interest those who want to know more about ordinary families and especially women of the past, and about the creation of literary legends. It is a remarkable psychological narrative about where self-fashioning stops and lying begins.

©1983 The President and Fellows of Harvard College (P)2018 Tantor

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  • 30-12-2020

A must listen! Incredible account of peasant life

Narration was perfect. Natalie Zemon Davis is a master storyteller and historian of 16th century France!!!

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.