Sovereign Power and the Life of the Flesh
|Publication Date||August 2013|
|Formats||Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF)|
|Series||Palgrave Shakespeare Studies|
Rejecting arguments that Shakespeare is either an absolutist or a partisan of civic republican values, this book argues that Shakespeare is essentially anti-political, dissecting the nature of the nation-state and charting a surprising form of resistance to it. For Shakespeare, the nation-state is essentially and inescapably a vehicle of sovereign power, seizing the bodily lives of its subjects to impose regulated subjectivities, roles and identities, including a collective national identity. Shakespeare does not imagine directly opposing sovereign power; rather, he imagines using sovereign power against itself to engineer new forms of selfhood and relationality that escape the orbit of the nation-state. It is the new experiences of selfhood and relationality that flourish in the shadows of sovereign power that Gil terms 'the life of the flesh,' and he argues that one place where the life of the flesh appears especially prominently is in a non-intimate experience of sexuality.