How did the imposter get away with it?

The Return of Martin Guerre 4 Questions

I suggest reading Finlay,” Refashioning Martin Guerre” and Davis, “On the Lame,” first. Then read the very brief Jean de Coras, The Memorable Story. Coras’ pamphlet is the primary source upon which Davis’ book is based. Then finally read Davis, The Return of Martin Guerre. Reading the various assignments in this order should make Davis’ exaggerations and flights of fantasy more obvious.

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Answer all of the following questions:

1. Finlay in his critique of The Return of Martin Guerre, Finlay claims that Davis imagined the following element in her interpretation: 1) The cooperation between Bertrande de Rols and the fake Martin Guerre, Arnaud du Tilh 2) Bertrande as a headstrong, independent woman 3) Arnaud du Tilh’s Protestantism 4) Coras’ “identification” with Arnaud du Tilh. Do you agree or disagree? Please provide precise page references to The Return of Martin Guerre and contrast Davis’ assertions with her primary text, Coras’, The Miraculous Story.

2. How did the imposter get away with it? Who believed he was the real Martin Guerre? Who did not?

3. Is the Return of Martin Guerre, a microhistory? Davis never uses the expression in the book but everybody including Bell think that the book is an example of the microhistorical approach Consider Davis’ methods and the subject of her research. You might consider the ways in which The Return of Martin Guerre draws upon or even imitates features in The Cheese & the Worms?

4. In the article by David Bell that we read last week, Bell criticizes microhistorians for being too “cinematic” and too eager to reach a large audience often at the expense of professional standards. He also complains that micro historians are “frustratingly incapable of integrating micro analysis with larger historical generalization that formour understanding of the paest.” Do you think that The Return of Martin Guerre suffers from the weaknesses Bell complains of?

Please do not use outside sources and only the ones attached here. There should be a thoughtful paragraph per answer.


Thank you for working with me. Quotes are allowed to be used but please cite the source. There should be 6-10 sentences answering each question.

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