This article discusses documents, knowledge, and truth through a conceptual examination and through an examination of Flaubert's 19th century novel Madame Bovary. It argues that the main characters of Madame Bovary deceive themselves by believing that the contents of the fictional and medical texts they read convey truth. In contrast, the article argues that modern knowledge is constituted by documentary evidence operating in knowledge networks and processes where the result of such operations is what can be claimed to be true about the world through such processes. The representational malady that Madame and Doctor Bovary suffer in the novel was a common one among the emerging bourgeoisie of the time, but it is also a common one today, with the internet as the site of this plague.
Day, Ronald E.
"Documents and the Malady of Truth,"
Proceedings from the Document Academy: Vol. 9
, Article 11.
Available at: https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/docam/vol9/iss2/11
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)