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Shakespeare's Fugitive Politics

Thomas P. Anderson

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Establishes Shakespeare’s plays as some of the period’s most speculative political literature

Shakespeare’s Fugitive Politics makes the case that Shakespeare’s plays reveal there is always something more terrifying to the king than rebellion. The book seeks to move beyond the presumption that political evolution leads ineluctably away from autocracy and aristocracy toward republicanism and popular sovereignty. Instead, it argues for affirmative politics in Shakespeare – the process of transforming scenes of negative affect into political resistance.

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1. The Embodied Will In Julius Caesar: An Introduction to Shakespeare’s Fugitive Politics
2. Friendship, Sovereignty and Political Discord In Coriolanus
3. Touching Sovereignty in Henry V
4. Sovereignty’s Scribbled Form in King John
5. Body Politics and the Non-Sovereign Exception in Titus Andronicus and The Winter’s Tale

About the Author

Thomas P. Anderson is Professor of English at Mississippi State University. He is the author of Performing Early Modern Trauma from Shakespeare to Milton (2006) and the editor, with Ryan Netzley, of Acts of Reading: Interpretation, Reading Practices, and the Idea of the Book in John Foxe’s Actes and Monuments (2010).


Rather than simply celebrating the forms of equality and accord promised by friendship and hospitality, Anderson shows how dissensus contributes to the political force field of these democratic incubators. Without dissensus: no democracy. If friendship and its variants contribute to non-sovereign democratic practice, then how do they manage, distribute and survive the pressures of dissensus? Anderson addresses these and other serious questions in this bold, thoughtful, and original book.

- Julia Reinhard Lupton, The University of California, Irvine

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