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Succeeding King Lear : Literature, Exposure, and the Possibility of Politics (Hardcover)

Author: Sun, Emily

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Product Overview

This book investigates Shakespear's King Lear and its originative power in modern literature with specific attention to the early work of the English Romantic poet William Words-worth and to the American writer James Agee and photographer Walker Evans's 1941 collaboration, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. It examines how these later readers return to the play to interrogate emphatically the question of the relations between literature and politics in modernity and to initiate in this way their own creative trajectories. King Lear opens up a literary genealogy or history of successors, at the heart and origin of which, the author claims, is a crisis of sovereignty. The tragedy famously begins with the title character's decision to give up his throne and divide the kingdom prior to his demise. In bringing to light the assumptions behind this logic and in dramatizing its disastrous consequences, the play performs an implicit analysis and critique of sovereign as the guiding principle of political life and gestures, beyond sovereignty, toward the possibility of a new aesthetic and political future.

The question of the relations between literature and politics not only opens up immanently or internally within King Lear, this book argues, but also occasions a literary history of readers who return to the play as to an ordinary locus for dealing with a problem. Among such successors are Wordsworth in the 1790's after the French Revolution and Agee and Evans during the Depression in the 1930's, whose engagements with Lear, this book argues, were crucial to their development of new artistic means of creating a democratic literature. In bringing British Romanticism and American modernism into contact with their literary and political origins in Shakespeare, this book offers an original way of thinking about literary history and a new approach to the question of the relations between literature and politics in modernity. In its interdisciplinary and cross-period scope, it will appeal to students and scholars of Shakespeare, Romanticism, modernism, and literary theory, as well as those of literature and photography.


Publisher Fordham Univ Pr
Mfg Part# 9780823232802
SKU 213648058
Format Hardcover
ISBN10 0823232808
Release Date 9/1/2010
Product Attributes
Book Format Hardcover
Number of Pages 0179
Publisher Fordham University Press
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