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Procedures of conscience and confession
Elwin Hofman

, the magistrates wanted their confession and condemned Janssens to torture. When she was brought to the torture chamber, Janssens immediately confessed that she had been present in the murder, but said that she had been forced by her companions to go along. A month later, the court condemned her to death by hanging. In the quest for the truth, the judiciary personnel had threatened Janssens, lied to her and condemned her to torture. How can we understand this criminal procedure? And what does it tell us about the self as practised in criminal procedures? In

in Trials of the self
Fanny Lopez

Maison autonome n° 2 (1980). 5 Similar to Radical Technology in terms of composition, the content of these works was, however, less synthetic and problem oriented. In 1979, supported by the Canadian organization Ayer’s Cliff Centre for Self-Sufficiency, the self-builder Nick Nicholson produced three brochures that developed the successive stages of building an autonomous house from a technical popularization angle. 6 As we can see, there were many publications of this type (see Figures 94a – 94e ). Nonetheless, most of the movement’s actors hailed Pike

in Dreams of disconnection
Rhodri Hayward

1 The invention of the self When truth embodied in a tale (Tennyson, In Memoriam, 36) There are moments when the pursuit of history can seem truly unnerving. Sometimes that past which was meant to ground our ideas and conceptions gives way and reveals something stranger, alien and uncanny. Although such episodes are rare events in most historians’ lives, they form a recurring motif in fantastic literature, where they are widely associated with the breakdown of identity and personality. Stories of historians driven to madness and despair when their narratives

in Resisting history
The American Gothic journeys of Jack Kerouac, Cormac McCarthy and Jim Crace
Andrew Smith

relationship between the self and the environment through acts which take place on the frontier. Finally we will see how these texts argue for how the frontier, a type of liminal space like the road, needs to become inhabited by a model of the family which serves as the blueprint for the possibility of social and environmental renewal. It is a move which requires a repudiation of the Gothic as its images of

in Ecogothic

This volume of twelve essays, preceded by an introduction that succinctly frames the problematic and history of the notion of the ‘self’, examines the various ways the ‘self’ was perceived, fashioned and written in the course of the long eighteenth century in Great Britain. It highlights, in particular, the interface between literature and philosophy. The chapters include discussion of philosophers such as Locke, Shaftesbury, Mandeville, Hume, Hutcheson and Smith, churchmen such as Isaac Barrow and John Tillotson, the novelists Eliza Haywood, Samuel Richardson and Laurence Sterne, the poets Anne Killigrew, Alexander Pope, William Blake and William Wordsworth, the writers and sometime diarists Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, and the radical writer Sampson Perry.

The originality of the studies lies in their focus on the varied ways of seeing and saying the self, and what Locke called personal identity. They foreground the advent of a recognisably modern, individualistic and ‘sustainable’ self, which, still today, remains plural and enigmatic. The book should appeal to a wide public, both undergraduate and graduate students working in Literature and the Humanities, in particular those interested in the Enlightenment period, as well as researchers and the general public interested in questions related to identity and consciousness and their formulation in the past and present.

The volume follows a chronological narrative which surveys the intriguing and protean nature of the ‘self’ from varied perspectives and as expressed in different genres. It assembles contributions from both confirmed and young researchers from Britain, Europe and the United States.

An introduction
Elwin Hofman

study. Using trial records and other sources from Belgium and elsewhere in North-Western Europe, I show that criminal justice stimulated people from a wide variety of backgrounds to practise a deeper and more inner self after around 1800. But this history is neither self-evident nor straightforward. Jacob Mol, the people around him and his judges practised the self in several interacting and conflicting ways. These practices show the complexity of the self, the power mechanisms involved and the hazards of the archives. Histories of the self The self is notoriously

in Trials of the self
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Murder, mayhem and the remaking of the mind, 1750–1830

The making of the ‘modern self’ is one of the grand narratives in the history of the western world. Yet most scholars of the self disregard to what extent common people participated in this history. This book uses five hundred Belgian criminal trial records of murder, sodomy and prostitution cases from between 1750 and 1830 to retell the European history of the self. By means of these unusual sources, the book not only shifts attention towards common people’s changing self-conceptions, but also to the diversity of discourses and practices of the self. The book indicates that, along with conflicting tendencies, there was an increasing stress on inner depth in the interactions in criminal courts after around 1800. This depth was not only important for elites, but also, and sometimes especially, for common people. In five chapters, the book discusses the impact of changing criminal procedures on practices of confession and remorse, the increasing claims people made that their actions were rational and universal, the ways in which they claimed to have ‘lost’ their self by drinking, passion or insanity, the changing displays of tears and sympathy, and talk about human and individual nature.

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Medicine, politics and the regulation of health in the twentieth century

Concepts of ‘balance’ have been central to modern politics, medicine and society. Yet, while many health, environmental and social challenges are discussed globally in terms of imbalances in biological, social and ecological systems, strategies for addressing modern excesses and deficiencies have focused almost exclusively on the agency of the individual. Balancing the Self explores the diverse ways in which balanced and unbalanced selfhoods have been subject to construction, intervention and challenge across the long twentieth century. Through original chapters on subjects as varied as obesity control, fatigue and the regulation of work, and the physiology of exploration in extreme conditions, the volume analyses how concepts of balance and rhetorics of empowerment and responsibility have historically been used for a variety of purposes, by a diversity of political and social agencies. Historicising present-day concerns, as well as uncovering the previously hidden interests of the past, this volume’s wide-ranging discussions of health governance, subjectivity and balance will be of interest to historians of medicine, sociologists, social policy analysts, and social and political historians alike.

Abstract only
Rhodri Hayward

4 The self triumphant Open wide our self-made prisons (‘R Hwn Sy’n Gyrru Mellt Hedeg) ‘Wales’ read the headlines of the Liverpool Echo in January 1905, ‘[is] in the grip of supernatural forces’.1 The country was in a state of millennial fervour. Across the principality the familiar pattern of religious life was rent asunder as women and workers were being driven into public ecstasies and seized by religious raptures. Chapels and communities were transformed. The familiar procedures of the Sunday meeting were abandoned for the marathon sessions of praise and

in Resisting history
Open Access (free)
Nuns’ narratives in early modern Venice
Mary Laven

Testifying to the self 8 Testifying to the self: nuns’ narratives in early modern Venice Mary Laven In the summer of 1614, scandal erupted at San Zaccaria, the oldest and most aristocratic of the Venetian convents. Laura Querini, a noble nun in her mid-forties, was found guilty of having had sexual intercourse, repeatedly, with a young nobleman in a store-room situated on the edge of the nunnery. Testifying before Patriarch Francesco Vendramin, the head of the Venetian Church, Laura Querini told her story from the very beginning: I came to this convent as a

in Judicial tribunals in England and Europe, 1200–1700