The Self

Representations and practices

Authored by: James R. Farr

The Routledge Companion to Cultural History in the Western World

Print publication date:  September  2020
Online publication date:  September  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138649460
eBook ISBN: 9781003080206
Adobe ISBN:


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Most scholars of the Renaissance today agree that the individual assumed unprecedented importance then, but few would define the individual in terms of autonomy. Many scholars now argue that the Renaissance individual must be understood as a product of his or her social and cultural context, and that somehow societies fashion the selves that populate them. Most scholars now accept the post-modern argument that the individual and the self are cultural artefacts, with identities that are complex, contingent and fragmented. The essay explores the modalities of the self from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, and illustrates them from portraiture (including self-portraiture) and autobiography.

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