19 September 2010

Book: Succeeding King Lear: Literature, Exposure, and the Possibility of Politics

Just published: Emily Sun, "Succeeding King Lear: Literature, Exposure, and the Possibility of Politics" (Fordham University Press, September 2010):


Publisher's description: "This book investigates the question of the relations between literature and politics in democratic modernity. It makes connections between Shakespeare's tragedy, Wordsworth's poetry, and the documentary nonfiction and photography of James Agee and Walker Evans to offer new ways of thinking of the logic of literary history and the relationship between early modern, Romantic, and twentieth-century texts; and it brings literature into dialogue with contemporary philosophical re-readings of Western political thought. King Lear, Sun argues, opens up a literary succession at the heart of which is a crisis of sovereignty. Interrogating what it is to be a political subject as actor and spectator in the kingdom, the play issues an injunction to transform spectatorship in plural and nonsovereign terms. Thorough engagements with Lear, Wordsworth in the 1790s, and Agee and Evans in the 1930s assume this injunction by generating new artistic genres and modes for their times."

Endorsement: "Emily Sun has written an ambitious study that is a delight to read on how literary works foster a truly active rather than passive spectatorship as well as a 'plural speech' necessary to avoid tyrannous political theologies. Drawing in major contemporary theorists, her patient and clarifying style, with its ability to zoom from large questions to telling textual detail, compels us to think anew about this task." (Geoffrey Hartman, Yale)

Emily Sun is Visiting Assistant Professor of English at the College of the Holy Cross

No comments:

Post a Comment