Listen to Christopher Pye‘s extraordinary talk here. He discussed sovereignty in King Lear relating it to autonomy, the self, the state, and the world. Focusing on Cordelia’s ‘nothing’ and Edgar’s ‘I nothing am’, he opens up the relationship of power to law, recognition and non-recognition. This complex web of issues is worth listening and re-listening.
Christopher Pye is Class of 1924 Professor of English at Williams College. He is the author of The Regal Phantasm: Shakespeare and the Politics of Spectacleand The Vanishing: Shakespeare, the Subject, and Early Modern Culture. His current writing project focuses on the intersections between aesthetics and political thought in the Renaissance era: Shakespeare, but also figures from Leonardo da Vinci to Thomas Hobbes and Diego Velasquez, all of whom pose compelling questions about the relations between art and political subjectivity. His most recent book is The Storm at Sea: Political Aesthetics in the Time of Shakespeare.