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Graduate Fall 2019: Adam Faircloth

Necro-Sovereign Shakespeare: Literary Sovereignty and the Haunting of English Political Thought

Department of English

Necro-Sovereign Shakespeare: Literary Sovereignty and the Haunting of English Political Thought

Shakespeare helps us to think about the practice and configuration of sovereign power. Over the course of his plays, Shakespeare introduces a coherent vision of sovereign power which does not only pronounce sovereignty as intrinsically literary, but characterizes the literariness of sovereign power as inherently spectral—what I specify as necro-sovereignty, whereby the authority of the living/existing power structures are legitimated by fictions of the emblematized dead. For Shakespeare, every sovereign story is a ghost story.