'The Idea of the Self is quite simply the most important and convincing book about Western thinking about the self that I have encountered. The scholarship is both deep and sweeping. Seigel's readings of a wide variety of texts over more than three centuries are cogent and beautifully nuanced, and he is remarkably adept at placing his texts in their relevant national contexts. The result is intellectual history at its very best … quite an event.' Anthony la Vopa, Professor of History, North Carolina State University
'… an overwhelming accomplishment, not only in its panoramic scope but also in its intense critical engagement with so many complex texts by so many important thinkers.' John E. Toews, University of Washington
'The Idea of the Self will inevitably provoke thought, discussion and debate. It should. It is simply the best book we now have on the subject, comprehensive, astute and profound, original in approach, forthright in the presentation of its own interpretation of the self … Any account of the idea of the self in modern times from now on will have to confront and absorb this magnificent accomplishment.' Modern Intellectual History
'In its scope, depth, richness and occasional brilliance, it is an astonishing achievement; in its insistence on the historical and structural complexity of ideas of the self, it is a necessary corrective to overschematic histories. It deserves - and will likely get - the closest attention.' Metapsychology Online Review
'Seigel has written an important and invaluable book.' The New Republic
This is a magisterial 2005 account of how major Western European thinkers have confronted the self since the seventeenth century. Jerrold Seigel explores the ways in which key figures have understood whether and how far individuals can achieve coherence and consistency in the face of inner tensions and external pressures.