In this Book

summary

Why did the language of contract become the dominant metaphor for the relationship between subject and sovereign in mid-seventeenth-century England? In Wayward Contracts, Victoria Kahn takes issue with the usual explanation for the emergence of contract theory in terms of the origins of liberalism, with its notions of autonomy, liberty, and equality before the law.

Drawing on literature as well as political theory, state trials as well as religious debates, Kahn argues that the sudden prominence of contract theory was part of the linguistic turn of early modern culture, when government was imagined in terms of the poetic power to bring new artifacts into existence. But this new power also brought in its wake a tremendous anxiety about the contingency of obligation and the instability of the passions that induce individuals to consent to a sovereign power. In this wide-ranging analysis of the cultural significance of contract theory, the lover and the slave, the tyrant and the regicide, the fool and the liar emerge as some of the central, if wayward, protagonists of the new theory of political obligation. The result is must reading for students and scholars of early modern literature and early modern political theory, as well as historians of political thought and of liberalism.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. i-v
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. Abbreviations
  2. p. xiii
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  1. CHAPTER 1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-28
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  1. PART I: An Anatomy of Contract, 1590–1640
  2. p. 29
  1. CHAPTER 2. Language and the Bond of Conscience
  2. pp. 31-56
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  1. CHAPTER 3. The Passions and Voluntary Servitude
  2. pp. 57-79
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  1. PART II: A Poetics of Contract, 1640–1674
  2. p. 81
  1. CHAPTER 4. Imagination
  2. pp. 83-111
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  1. CHAPTER 5. Violence
  2. pp. 112-133
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  1. CHAPTER 6. Metalanguage
  2. pp. 134-170
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  1. CHAPTER 7. Gender
  2. pp. 171-195
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  1. CHAPTER 8. Embodiment
  2. pp. 196-222
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  1. CHAPTER 9. Sympathy
  2. pp. 223-251
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  1. CHAPTER 10. Critique
  2. pp. 252-278
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  1. CHAPTER 11. Conclusion
  2. pp. 279-284
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 285-364
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 365-370
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781400826421
Related ISBN
9780691117737
MARC Record
OCLC
521224278
Pages
392
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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