By Paul Cefalu

ISBN-10: 0230607497

ISBN-13: 9780230607491

ISBN-10: 1349537306

ISBN-13: 9781349537303

This e-book deals the 1st sustained review of the ways that fresh modern philosophy and cultural concept - together with the paintings of Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, Eric Santner, Slavoj Zizek, and Alenka Zupancic - can light up Early glossy literature and tradition.

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Extra resources for English Renaissance Literature and Contemporary Theory:: Sublime Objects of Theology

Example text

How, though, does all this serve the subject who languishes under the state of exception? In unreconstructed early modern, theological terms, it simply helps the subject to avoid backsliding and creaturely presumptuousness. But in Santner’s terms, it has a pacifying, if deadening, effect because it allows the subject to sustain the fantasy that whatever surplus validity it might recognize in itself is ultimately coupled with that divine excess revealed by God when he declares a state of emergency.

The Slovenian-Lacanian explanation of such a move is that it represents Donne’s speaker’s inability to transfer from a state of “being” to a state of “having” the cross: Unable to symbolize adequately his goal of naming and satisfying God’s desire, the speaker remains at the level of imaginary captation, in which he, like the infans who has not yet acceded to the symbolic, desperately offers himself as a material means to fulfill God’s unsatisfiable desire. If the movement, then, of the political theology of the sermons is a regression from the symbolic to the imaginary, the religious poems are more preoccupied with the difficulty of both superseding the imaginary in the absence of clearly established divine and paternal laws, and internalizing the very symbolic investitures that the sermons attempt to negate.

It is more comforting to assume that we are responsible for forcing God to chastise us for bringing a state of emergency into being, thereby requiring some form of divine intervention. In purely secular relations, the sovereign’s power generates such an excess of meaning because the sovereign seems lawless and always potentially arbitrary. Part of the elusive power of the secular sovereign’s power lies in the fact that law is suspended ideally for the health of the state, even 44 E n g l i s h R e n a i s s a n c e L i t e r at u r e / Pau l C e f a l u though no particular individual within the state typically seems responsible for actualizing such prerogatives.

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English Renaissance Literature and Contemporary Theory:: Sublime Objects of Theology by Paul Cefalu

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