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Miracles and Plagues: Plague Discourse as Political Thought

Miracles and Plagues: Plague Discourse as Political Thought Abstract: This paper proposes that early modern English writers used plague discourse to explore contradictions in the constitution, configuration, and preservation of the body politic. The plague was the other side of the miracle, the figure by which early modern political philosophers theorized and debated interrelations between the mystical authority of the sovereign and the emergence of new forms of life. While plague legislation offered a paradigm of community based on immunization, local responses to the plague by writers such as Thomas Dekker, Hanoch Clapham, and George Wither called for neighborly and democratic forms of sociality. But the early modern English writer who experimented most dramatically with plague discourse was Michael Drayton. His plague poem, Moses, His Birth and Miracles , uses central themes and concerns from both plague legislation and protest literature to explore relations between reform-minded poetry and the plague and to account for the violence that attends political reform. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies University of Pennsylvania Press

Miracles and Plagues: Plague Discourse as Political Thought

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Pennsylvania Press
ISSN
1553-3786
Publisher site
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Abstract

Abstract: This paper proposes that early modern English writers used plague discourse to explore contradictions in the constitution, configuration, and preservation of the body politic. The plague was the other side of the miracle, the figure by which early modern political philosophers theorized and debated interrelations between the mystical authority of the sovereign and the emergence of new forms of life. While plague legislation offered a paradigm of community based on immunization, local responses to the plague by writers such as Thomas Dekker, Hanoch Clapham, and George Wither called for neighborly and democratic forms of sociality. But the early modern English writer who experimented most dramatically with plague discourse was Michael Drayton. His plague poem, Moses, His Birth and Miracles , uses central themes and concerns from both plague legislation and protest literature to explore relations between reform-minded poetry and the plague and to account for the violence that attends political reform.

Journal

Journal for Early Modern Cultural StudiesUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Jun 19, 2010

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