The Return of Martin Guerre

Paperback (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
$15.62
(Save 36%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $8.74
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 64%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (47) from $8.74   
  • New (8) from $17.32   
  • Used (39) from $8.74   

Overview

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. Told and retold over the centuries, the story of Martin Guerre became a legend, still remembered in the Pyrenean village where the impostor was executed more than 400 years ago.

Now a noted historian, who served as consultant for a new French film on Martin Guerre, has searched archives and lawbooks to add new dimensions to a tale already abundant in mysteries: we are led to ponder how a common man could become an impostor in the sixteenth century, why Bertrande de Rols, an honorable peasant woman, would accept such a man as her husband, and why lawyers, poets, and men of letters like Montaigne became so fascinated with the episode.

Natalie Zemon Davis reconstructs the lives of ordinary people, in a sparkling way that reveals the hidden attachments and sensibilities of nonliterate sixteenth-century villagers. Here we see men and women trying to fashion their identities within a world of traditional ideas about property and family and of changing ideas about religion. We learn what happens when common people get involved in the workings of the criminal courts in the ancien régime, 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 also a remarkable psychological narrative about where self-fashioning stops and lying begins.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The Nation

A fascinating reconstruction of a famous incident of impostorship and love in sixteenth-century rural France. Davis delicately deploys historical fact to suggest what is singular about the modern individual.
— Todd Gitlin

New York Review of Books

In her intelligent and subtle analysis, the story gives an inside view of an otherwise little-known world, the private lives of peasants...Natalie Davis has also collaborated on an excellent film of the story (produced in France) as well as writing this book...About Martin Guerre, I would say, without hesitation, the movie was great, but Natalie Davis's book is even greater.
— Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie

Voice Literary Supplement

Davis combines a veteran researcher's expertise with a lay reader's curiosity and an easygoing style. She draws on sophisticated...work in land tenure, legal rights, and demography to reinterpret a 'prodigious history' among the French peasantry...Davis's book combines ingredients essential to good social history—painstaking historical research and a vividly empathetic imagination. The result of this happy combination is that character emerges in context...Davis's book balances possibility and constraint, character and situation. It puts people back into history but doesn't take the social and political forces out of it. The universal is there in particular, and it makes you think not only about their choices then, but about ours now.
— Pat Aufderheide

Times Literary Supplement

Natalie Zemon Davis...has scoured the legal and notarial records of south-western France to recreate for the reader not merely a highly entertaining story but a vivid picture of the world which fashioned its principal characters. Her observations on property rights, inheritance, customs, family relationships and the mechanisms of the law are welded together by a rare blend of historical craft and imagination...Professor Davis's ability to combine lively narrative, wit, historical reflection and psychological analysis will ensure for this book a wide audience. It is truly captivating story with which to pass a rainy weekend; it is also a brilliantly professional reconstruction of the rural world of sixteenth-century France, which will both stimulate and inform for many years to come.
— David Parker

Newsweek

The fullest account to date of this extraordinary tale. Davis has constructed a Fine piece of social history, a look into the lives of 16th-century peasants who left no records because they could neither read nor write.
— Jean Strouse

Village Voice

Davis combines a veteran researcher's expertise with a lay reader's curiosity and an easygoing style... Davis's book balances possibility and constraint, character and situation. It puts people back into history but doesn't take the social and political forces out of it
— Pat Aufderheide

The Nation - Todd Gitlin
A fascinating reconstruction of a famous incident of impostorship and love in sixteenth-century rural France. Davis delicately deploys historical fact to suggest what is singular about the modern individual.
New York Review of Books - Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie
In her intelligent and subtle analysis, the story gives an inside view of an otherwise little-known world, the private lives of peasants...Natalie Davis has also collaborated on an excellent film of the story (produced in France) as well as writing this book...About Martin Guerre, I would say, without hesitation, the movie was great, but Natalie Davis's book is even greater.
Voice Literary Supplement - Pat Aufderheide
Davis combines a veteran researcher's expertise with a lay reader's curiosity and an easygoing style... Davis's book balances possibility and constraint, character and situation. It puts people back into history but doesn't take the social and political forces out of it
Times Literary Supplement - David Parker
Natalie Zemon Davis...has scoured the legal and notarial records of south-western France to recreate for the reader not merely a highly entertaining story but a vivid picture of the world which fashioned its principal characters. Her observations on property rights, inheritance, customs, family relationships and the mechanisms of the law are welded together by a rare blend of historical craft and imagination...Professor Davis's ability to combine lively narrative, wit, historical reflection and psychological analysis will ensure for this book a wide audience. It is truly captivating story with which to pass a rainy weekend; it is also a brilliantly professional reconstruction of the rural world of sixteenth-century France, which will both stimulate and inform for many years to come.
Newsweek - Jean Strouse
The fullest account to date of this extraordinary tale. Davis has constructed a Fine piece of social history, a look into the lives of 16th-century peasants who left no records because they could neither read nor write.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674766914
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 1/20/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 126,679
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Natalie Zemon Davis is Henry Charles Lea Professor of History, Emerita, Princeton University.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction

1. From Hendaye to Artigat

2. The Discontented Peasant

3. The Honor of Bertrande de Rols

4. The Masks of Arnaud du Tilh

5. The Invented Marriage

6. Quarrels

7. The Trial at Rieux

8. The Trial at Toulouse

9. The Return of Martin Guerre

10. The Storyteller

11. Histoire prodigieuse, Histoire tragique

12. Of the Lame

Epilogue

Selected Bibliography of Writings on Martin Guerre

Notes

Index

Illustrations

First edition of Coras, Arrest Memorable (1561). Bibliothèque Nationale.

First page of the Arrest Memorable (1561). Bibliothèque Mazarine.

The routes of Martin Guerre.

Whimsical soldiers, ca. 1545. Archives départementales de l'Ariège, 5E6220.

Peasants dance. Bibliothèque Nationale, Cabinet des Estampes.

A rural couple. Bibliothèque Nationale.

Confrontation between accused and witness. Harvard Law School Library, Treasure Room.

First pictorial representation of the case. Bibliothèque Mazarine, Paris.

Jean de Coras. Bibliothèque Nationale, Cabinet des Estampes.

A case of remarkable resemblance. University of Pennsylvania,

Furness Memorial Library, Special Collections, Van Pelt Library.

Punishment arrives on a wooden leg. Princeton University

Library, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)