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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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“To throw out our eyes for brave Othello”

“To throw out our eyes for brave Othello”

Chapter:
(p.105) Chapter 4 “To throw out our eyes for brave Othello”
Source:
The Storm at Sea
Author(s):

Christopher Pye

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823265046.003.0005

Othello’s relation to a set of familiarly modern political categories—citizenship, domesticity, the state, formal law—is directly bound up with the status the play claims for itself as a self-referential literary form. The drama’s mixed generic form, a tragedy constructed on a comic “matrix,” reflects its efforts to constitute a version of absolute literariness, to extend the self-referential field of the literary to the point of death without abandoning its status as literary. Insofar as such an infinite and cognizable field corresponds to our own space of aesthetic reflection, the historical limits of the play’s construction coincide with the unstable horizon of our own speculative relation to the play. That limit—the point where the problem of reference recurs—is also the point where the problem of race is inscribed, the chapter argues: thus the insistence of race in the age of the universal citizen-subject.

Keywords:   Othello, Citizenship, Race, Aesthetics, State

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