Natalie Zemon Davis

Natalie Zemon Davis, the author of The Return of Martin Guerre, is the Henry Charles Lea Professor of History emerita from Princeton and is now associated with the University of Toronto. Her most recent book is Trickster Travels: A 16th-Century Muslim between Worlds.

Kingdoms of Paper: Identity and Faking It

Natalie Zemon Davis, 18 October 2007

When does the history of personal identification technology begin? The history of fingerprinting, photographs, retinal scans, DNA testing? Of the many situations in which we are called on to prove who we are, and of the many places in which our identity is recorded? Some accounts start with the French Revolution and the needs of modern states and colonial empires. Others, following Foucault,...

At a seance in Hampstead in June 1914, W.B. Yeats was contacted by a spirit guide, who announced that he was Leo Africanus and professed to be affronted that the poet hadn’t heard of him....

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In Scheherezade’s shoes

Colin Jones, 23 November 1989

Like good detective novels, the letters of remission which are the subject of Natalie Zemon Davis’s most recent book usually start with a corpse which requires to be explained. Other...

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