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Myths of Renaissance Individualism (Early Modern History: Society and Culture)

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  9 Ratings  ·  2 Reviews
The idea that the Renaissance witnessed the emergence of the modern individual remains a powerful myth. In this important new book Martin examines the Renaissance self with attention to both social history and literary theory and offers a new typology of Renaissance selfhood which was at once collective, performative and porous. At the same time, he stresses the layered qu
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Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 22nd 2006 by Palgrave Macmillan (first published June 21st 2004)
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Dan Gorman
Oct 27, 2016 Dan Gorman rated it it was ok
Meh. The idea that individualism is a historically specific concept is interesting. People in past eras — the Renaissance, in this case — conceived of their selves in different ways than we do today. Martin exhibits shades of Michel Foucault in his reject of a universally applicable definition of the self, except that Foucault would talk more about souls than selves (see: "Discipline and Punish"). To Martin, this means that the philosophy of individualism didn't develop until the Enlightenment. ...more
Katie
Jul 06, 2011 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
The Goodreads description of this book makes it sound seriously daunting, but this book is surprisingly readable and enjoyable. It's a very clear and level account of how the Renaissance wasn't the amazing explosions of individuality as it's sometimes described, but a more complicated interaction between people and the world around them.

It's nicely structured as well, with each chapter almost functioning as a case study or 'short story.' Definitely worth a read!
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