Writing the Self is a history of the idea of the self told primarily with reference to diaries, memoirs and other first person writings by celebrated as well as little-known writers of the ancient, medieval and modern world. Most of the chapters deal with global changes in the idea of the self since the end of the sixteenth century. The last chapter carries the story into the age of the internet and social networking services.
“This concise yet comprehensive work by Heehs,” wrote Professor Heidi Storl in Choice, “fills a large niche in the literature on the nature and history of self. It offers an account of the self over the last two millennia, thereby capturing fully the idea that the self ‘has changed from a ghostly spirit to a substantial soul to an autonomous individual to a center of expression to a fiction constructed by social or biological forces.’ By deliberately including non-Western traditions regarding selfhood, this volume also broadens the scope of more typical discussions regarding self. In moving beyond standard Anglo-American and Continental approaches, Heehs ensures a rich future for selfhood scholarship.”