In this new study the authors examine a range of theories about the state of nature in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England, considering the contribution they made to the period's discourse on sovereignty and their impact on literary activity. Texts examined include Leviathan, Oceana, Paradise Lost, Discourses Concerning Government, Two Treatises on Government, Don Sebastian, Oronooko, The New Atalantis, Robinson Crusoe, Dissertation upon Parties, David Simple, and Tom Jones. The state of nature is identified as an important organizing principle for narratives in the century running from the Civil War through to the second Jacobite Rebellion, and as a way of situating the author within either a reactionary or a radical political tradition. The Discourse of Sovereignty provides an exciting new perspective on the intellectual history of this fascinating period.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Introduction: From revolution to rebellion; Revolution to Republic: Hobbes: absolutism and the state of nature; Harrington: Oceana and the state of nature; Diggers, levellers and ranters: The Bible and the state of nature; Milton and the state of nature; Restoration to Revolution: Locke, Sidney and the Whig state of nature; Neville: The Utopian state of nature revisited; Behn and the paternal state of nature; Dryden: Don Sebastian and the ideal ruler; Post-Restoration and The Hanoverian Settlement: Calvinism and the state of nature: Robinson Crusoe; Manley, Defoe and the politics of self-interest; Bolingbroke: party and the state of nature; Henry and Sarah Fielding: Hobbes restated; Conclusion: the narratives of sovereignty; Bibliography; Index.
About the Series
Studies in Early Modern English Literature
The series focuses on literary writing of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Its objectives are to examine the individuals, trends, and channels of influence of the period between the Renaissance and the rise of Romanticism. During this period the English novel was invented, poetry began to tackle its unsteady relationship with non-literary discourse, and post-Shakespearean drama reinvented itself. Alongside studies of established figures, the series aims to include books on important but lesser-known writers and those who are acknowledged as significant but given slight attention: typically, William Cartwright, James Shirley, John Denham, Edmund Waller, Isaac Watts, Matthew Prior, William D. Avenant, Mark Akenside and John Dyer. Also of particular interest are studies of the development of literary criticism in this period, monographs which deal with the conditions and practicalities of writing including the practices of the publishing trade and financial and social circumstances of writing as a profession and books which give special attention to the relationship between literature and other arts and discourses. Monographs on a variety of writers and topics will be accepted; authors are invited to combine the best traditions of detailed research with astute critical analysis. The use of contemporary theoretical approaches will be acceptable, but every book will be founded primarily upon historical, biographical and textual scholarship.
BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
- LITERARY CRITICISM / Comparative Literature