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The Tears of SovereigntyPerspectives of Power in Renaissance Drama$
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Philip Lorenz

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823251308

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823251308.001.0001

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Return: The “Wrinkles” of Mystery in The Winter's Tale

Return: The “Wrinkles” of Mystery in The Winter's Tale

(p.204) Chapter 5 Return: The “Wrinkles” of Mystery in The Winter's Tale
The Tears of Sovereignty

Philip Lorenz

Fordham University Press

The chapter reads Shakespeare's late play, The Winter's Tale, along with Francisco Suárez's Mariological writings as anatomies of the media conditions required for a sovereign event. Shakespeare's play of “wonder” stages a series of recapitulations, as the political and theological pathways of sovereignty viewed in the previous chapters converge in a complex set of returns. Shakespeare's play of “wonder” draws on what Hent de Vries calls the technicity of a theological construction, the art (or techné) in which a mediated and mediating body is fabricated out of a collage of textual authorities, Ovid, Petrarch, and the book of Revelation, in the course of performing a ‘miracle.’ Like Suárez's Mysteries, The Winter's Tale is a discourse of special effects, of a performance that binds and links the spectator to a tradition that is at least as theatrical as theological, and in which what is at stake is less the body of the absolute object of desire (in this case the body of a long lost mother and queen) than the believer's relation to that object. In different ways, Shakespeare and Suárez show that sovereignty bonds are also always media-bonds, as political theology give way to what might be termed psycho-political theology.

Keywords:   Political Theology, Efficiency, Metaphor, Mystery, Mariology, Media theory, Miracle, Wonder, “Wrinkles”, Psycho-political theology

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