1st Edition

Lacan, Foucault, and the Malleable Subject in Early Modern English Utopian Literature

By Dan Mills Copyright 2020
    274 Pages
    by Routledge

    274 Pages
    by Routledge

    Theoretically informed scholarship on early modern English utopian literature has largely focused on Marxist interpretation of these texts in an attempt to characterize them as proto- Marxist. The present volume instead focuses on subjectivity in early modern English utopian writing by using these texts as case studies to explore intersections of the thought of Jacques Lacan and Michel Foucault. Both Lacan and Foucault moved back and forth between structuralist and post-structuralist intellectual trends and ultimately both defy strict categorization into either camp. Although numerous studies have appeared that compare Lacan’s and Foucault’s thought, there have been relatively few applications of their thought together onto literature. By applying the thought of both theorists, who were not literary critics, to readings of early modern English utopian literature, this study will, on the one hand, describe the formation of utopian subjectivity that is both psychoanalytically (Oedipal and pre-Oedipal) and socially constructed, and, on the other hand, demonstrate new ways in which the thought of Lacan and Foucault inform and complement each other when applied to literary texts. The utopian subject is a malleable subject, a subject whose linguistic, psychoanalytical subjectivity determines the extent to which environmental and social factors manifest in an identity that moves among Lacan’s Symbolic, Imaginary, and Real.

    List of Figures




    Chapter 1
    Introducing Utopia

    Chapter 2
    Utopian Studies, Modern and Early Modern: A Nice Place to Visit

    Chapter 3
    Lacan avec Foucault

    Chapter 4
    "If Only this were some day possible": The Execration, Consecration, and Catechization of Humanist Optimism in Thomas More’s Utopia

    SECTION 2: the UTOPIAN symbolic
    Chapter 5

    Stealth Self on the Shelf: Surveillance, Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, and Symbolic Subjectivity

    Chapter 6

    Power is Knowledge: Surveillance, Biopower and Linguistic Subjectivity in John Eliot’s Christian Commonwealth

    Chapter 7

    Linguistic Subjectivity and Linguistic Utopia in Francis Lodwick’s A Country not Named

    SECTION 3: the UTOPIAN imaginary

    Chapter 8

    "Out of the Authority of the Arabians": Orientalism and Utopian Intellectual History in Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy

    Chapter 9

    Gerrard Winstanley’s Utopian Mission

    Chapter 10

    Margaret Cavendish’s Book of Imaginary Beings: Philosophical Animals and Physiognomic Philosophers in The Blazing World

    SECTION 4: The Three UTOPIAN reals

    Chapter 11
    Joseph Hall’s Mundus alter et idem and Geo-satirical Indictment of the English Crown

    Chapter 12

    James Harrington’s Commonwealth of Oceana and Typographical Utopia

    Chapter 13
    Pornographic Miscegenation and Dystopic Apocalypse in Henry Neville's Isle of Pines




    Dan Mills has an MA and PhD in English from Georgia State University, where he focused his studies on early modern English literature and theory and wrote his dissertation on early modern English utopian literature. He recently completed an MA in Latin at the University of Georgia. In addition to early modern English literature and theory, his research interests include bibliography and print culture, translation studies, and neo-Latin.