Sovereign Power and the Enlightenment: Eighteenth-Century Literature and the Problem of the Political

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Sovereign Power and the Enlightenment examines the role of the novelists and historians of the eighteenth century in developing a vision of political modernity that questions traditional narratives about the rise of liberalism and the decline of sovereign power. It provides a new way to link the literature and philosophy of the eighteenth century with the meditations on violence and sovereignty that have preoccupied much of the political philosophy of the first years of the twenty first century. Focusing on the novelists Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, and Ann Radcliffe, and on the historians David Hume and Edward Gibbon, DeGabriele shows how these authors use the resources of their respective genres to expose the persistence of sovereign violence and to outline a type of political subject who could resist the violence more effectively than the individual beloved of modern liberalism.