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Writing the self - Peter Heehs

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Writing the self - diaries, memoirs, and the history of the self
Peter Heehs
Paperback / softback
Bloomsbury Academic
UK Publication Date

The self has a history. In the West, the idea of the soul entered Christianity with the Church Fathers, notably Augustine. During the Renaissance the idea of the individual attained preeminence, as in the works of Montaigne. In the seventeenth century, philosophers such as Descartes formulated notions of selfhood that did not require a divine foundation; in the next century, Hume grew skeptical of the self's very existence. Ideas of the self have changed markedly since the Romantic period and most scholars today regard it as at best a mental construct.
First-person genres such as diaries and memoirs have provided an outlet for self-expression. Protestant diaries replaced the Catholic confessional, but secular diaries such as Pepys's may reveal yet more about the self. After Richardson, novels competed with diaries and memoirs as vehicles of self-expression, though memoirs survived and continue to thrive, while the diary has found a new incarnation in the personal blog.
Writing the Self narrates the intertwined histories of the self and of self-expression through first-person literature.>

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Peter Heehs is an independent scholar based in India. He has written or edited eleven books and published more than fifty
articles. His publications include The Lives of Sri Aurobindo (Columbia University Press, 2008), Indian Religions: A Historical Reader of Spiritual Expression and Experience (New York University Press, 2002), Nationalism, Terrorism, Communalism (Oxford University Press, 1998, reprinted 2000, 2005, 2006) and The Bomb in Bengal: The Rise of Revolutionary Terrorism in India 1900-1910 (Oxford University Press, 1993). His books have been translated intoRussian, Dutch, French and Japanese.

Peter Heehs's Writing the Self: Diaries, Memoirs, and the History of the Self aims to look at writing about the self in literature broadly conceived-and with significant temporal and geographical reach. Heehs is particularly effective in suggesting both Rousseau's influence on Kant and his differences from Kant.
Studies in English Literature

Keyword Index
Self in literature.|Self (Philosophy) - History.|Autobiography in literature.|Soul in literature.
Country of Publication
Number of Pages
vii, 296

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