“All of us feel we are different than everybody else,” writes Peter Heehs in the preface to Writing the Self: Diaries, Memoirs, and the History of the Self.
“We see the world through our own eyes, hear it with our own ears, touch it with our own hands. We have our own thoughts and feelings that we can share with other people but that no one experiences exactly as we do. We decide to do one thing and not another, take credit for our successes and feel the sting of our failures.
“The multitude of thoughts, feelings, sense impressions, impulses, and actions that make up our day-to-day lives seem to belong to a single someone. We feel that we were this someone in the past and will remain the same someone in the future. We have changed, of course, and will continue to change, but there is something that seems constant through it all. We call this our ‘I,’ our personal identity, our self,” he continues.
Heehs’ book is an intimate, academic-yet-accessible look at both the self and the history of self-expression.
Antony Copley, an honorary reader at the School of History at the University of Kent, calls it “essential reading for all those planning their autobiographies.”
“Peter Heehs’s Writing the Self: Diaries, Memoirs, and the History of the Self offers a concise yet thorough introduction to over 2000 years of textual explorations of the self: major works, writers, genres, and conceptual and theoretical questions,” says author Kathryn Sederberg.