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Marco Polo, rhetoric, Bahktin's chronotope


Throughout the text of Marco Polo's Devisement du monde, the reader is repeatedly enjoined to believe the narration. Such a captatio benevolantiae – the rhetorical convention inviting reader interest – typically takes the form of assertions, such as "I am telling nothing but the truth"; "Everybody ought too believe this"; "This is how it was"; "This is how Marco Polo saw it," and the like. The narrator even proposes to uphold the sophisticated distinction between eyewitness information, gathered firsthand, and accounts obtained from others:

We will set down things seen as seen, things heard as heard, so that our book may be honest and truthful without any lies, with no one able to attack its statements as fabrication. And all who read the book or hear it ought to believe it, because it contains nothing but the truth. (39)