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The Storm at SeaPolitical Aesthetics in the Time of Shakespeare$
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Christopher Pye

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823265046

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823265046.001.0001

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Early Modern Political Aesthetics

Early Modern Political Aesthetics

(p.9) Chapter 1 Early Modern Political Aesthetics
The Storm at Sea

Christopher Pye

Fordham University Press

Chapter one—an overview--focuses on the relation between aesthetics, history and political formation, engaging As You Like It, King Lear and Dr. Faustus in order to specify the aesthetic as a problem generally and for early modernity in particular. It considers the relation between aesthetic autonomy and early modern conceptions of sovereignty, suggesting among other things how such an orientation is distinct from current biopolitical analyses. The chapter further argues that early modern aesthetics needs to be dislocated from its familiar affiliation with commodification, suggesting that the aesthetic bears on the prior constitution of the very space of the social. That foundational aspect of the aesthetic brings to view the dimension of the works of the period that resists efforts to reconcile the defining antagonisms of historical society, whether that reconciliation is sought through reference to the state, to economy as an organizing metaphor, or by recourse to an artificially imposed distinction between civil and political spheres.

Keywords:   Aesthetics, Sovereignty, As You Like It, King Lear, Dr. Faustus, Biopolitics, Economy, Commodification

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