Early Modern Studies, Vol. 4
The pathbreaking work of renowned historian Natalie Zemon Davis has added profoundly to our understanding of early modern society and culture. She rescues men and women from oblivion using her unique combination of rich imagination, keen intelligence, and archival sleuthing to uncover the past. Davis brings to life a dazzling cast of extraordinary people, revealing their thoughts, emotions, and choices in the world in which they lived. Thanks to Davis we can meet the impostor Arnaud du Tilh in her classic, The Return of Martin Guerre, follow three remarkable lives in Women on the Margins, and journey alongside a traveler and scholar in Trickster Travels as he moves between the Muslim and Christian worlds.
In these conversations with Denis Crouzet, professor of history at the Sorbonne and well-known specialist on the French Wars of Religion, Davis examines the practices of history and controversies in historical method. Their discussion reveals how Davis has always pursued the thrill and joy of discovery through historical research. Her quest is influenced by growing up Jewish in the Midwest as a descendant of emigrants from Eastern Europe. She recounts how her own life as a citizen, a woman, and a scholar compels her to ceaselessly examine and transcend received opinions and certitudes. Natalie Zemon Davis reminds the reader of the broad possibilities to be found by studying the lives of those who came before us, and teaches us how to give voice to what was once silent.
Natalie Zemon Davis, one of the world’s most creative and influential historians, has always believed in dialogue as a path to knowledge, and these fascinating conversations prove her right. They are must reading for anyone interested in history, the historian’s craft, the role of women in our society, or the lives of engaged intellectuals in the twentieth century.