Responding to a quip by a fellow historian, who feared that Martin Guerre might become better known than Martin Luther, this guest column, by the author of The Return of Martin Guerre, affirms that they are part of the same universe of historical inquiry. Knowing about Martin Guerre brings understanding of the peasant world, which is also important for the trajectory of Luther’s Reformation. Knowing about Martin Luther brings knowledge of major religious change essential to understanding Martin Guerre’s village world and what happened in it. Themes of “imposture” and “dissimulation” and the fashioning of identity are central to social conflicts and social and personal aspiration across the spectrum in the sixteenth century: they are found in the actual lives of both men and in Martin Luther’s sermons as well as in the Martin Guerre trial.
Natalie Zemon Davis; Martin Luther, Martin Guerre, and Ways of Knowing. Common Knowledge 1 April 2019; 25 (1-3): 171–175. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0961754X-7299258
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