HOW CAN YOU NOT RECOGNIZE A SPOUSE?

HOW CAN YOU NOT RECOGNIZE A SPOUSE? Natalie Zemon Davis believes that Martin Guerre’s wife had to know the truth, that a wife could not fail to recognize that an impostor was not her husband. After all, this was not a momentary failure to recall an identity. The wikipedia article cites an article by Robert Finlay who disagrees with Davis and believes the wife was fooled. A number of other people in the village, including several close relatives of Martin were also fooled. I have wondered whether the absence of photographs meant that people were not as observant of physical appearances four centuries ago. Now, after reading about George Vaillant’s work on defenses, I wonder whether the attempt by Martin’s wife and family to defend against the emotional impact of Martin’s disappearance may have played a role. The impostor may have played into a protective “delusion” that some day Martin would return.

This entry was posted in History. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to HOW CAN YOU NOT RECOGNIZE A SPOUSE?

  1. Mary Jane Schaefer says:

    But, Martin was not liked by his wife, and he posed a claim to some of the goods of the family. I doubt they hoped for his return.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.