Notes of Me: The Autobiography of Roger North
University of Toronto Press, 1 janv. 2000 - 353 pages
Roger North was an English writer, lawyer, and polymath. In this autobiography, he wanders the intellectual, political, and cultural fields of Restoration England, mapping the state of his country and the state of his selfhood. By describing the multifarious currents affecting his life, North (1653-1734) makes lively forays into the worlds of natural philosophy, Christian stoicism, Cartesian science, architecture, music, education, and James II's treatment of the Protestant courtiers, while recounting his upbringing in an impoverished noble family, his education at Cambridge, and his career as a successful lawyer. Modern readers will find his sympathetic account of witch trials particularly intriguing.
This document, fascinating as a part of the history of self-awareness as well as the history of the period from a Tory, anti-Newtonian, high-church perspective, has, until now, only been available in a corrupted nineteenth-century publication. Peter Millard's edition contains full annotations that provide historical context and include references to North's other works. The introduction elucidates the current scholarly interest in North's precocious development of a more integrated theory of the psycho-physical nature of human cognition, and reveals the autobiography as the key necessary to understanding North's ideas.