Finlay vs Davis

Robert Finlay wrote his piece in response to The Retrun of Martin Guerre. What the debate comes down to is the role and view on Martins wife, who is unfaithful to Martin with the man posing as him. The debate is whether or not she knew of this, and if the narrative of her actions are of a women longing for love, and better treatment, or of a harlot. Finlay criticizes Davis for focusing so much on the wifes role in the story, which he claims is refashioning the story into something it is not. He also criticizes her for using the character of the wife to serve as a study for peasant women in medieval Europe. In that this is not an accurate depiction. He says it is not plausible.

Davis replies with her own writing defending her book. One thing she mentions is that she could be wrong in her interpretations in the book itself, and that Finlay is simply viewing it in a different way that does not agree with hers. Her response brings up questions and debate into historical interpretation and the historical method. She points out the differences in their approaches, and simply what it narrows down to is that Davis responds to Finlays critique by saying it is a matter of interpretation and that the material she used led her to that view. She also proves her knowledge of medieval peasantry in her response.

It’s a round one knockout for Davis.

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