Sovereignty and Intelligence: Spying and Court Culture in the English Renaissance

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This work uncovers a culture of courtly surveillance, secrecy, and espionage in an era generally regarded, since Foucault, as characterised by the association of sovereignty with public display. Examining the centrality of espionage in the careers and works of Michel de Montaigne, Sir Philip Sidney, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, and Sir Francis Bacon, it demonstrates the association of surveillance with sovereignty before surveillance became the characteristic mode of discipline in the modern, abstract state. The author substantially revises our understanding of the relationship between power and knowledge in the rise of the modern state while subtly illuminating the inscription of that relationship within Renaissance texts.