(post) Modern Elizabeth: Gender, Politics, and the Emergence of Modern Subjectivity
The critical history of the development of the modern subject in the Renaissance traditionally begins with Jacob Burckhardt’s muchquoted account of the post-medieval awakening of an interiorized and self-conscious subjectivity:
In the Middle Ages both sides of human consciousness – that which was turned within as that which was turned without – lay dreaming or half awake beneath a common veil. . . . Man was conscious of himself only as a member of a race, people, party, family, or corporation – only through some general category. In Italy this veil first melted into air; an objective treatment and consideration of the State and of all things of this world became possible. The subjective side at the same time asserted itself with corresponding emphasis; man became a spiritual individual, and recognized himself as such.