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The Tragic Representation Of The Prince: The Political Theology Of Ernst Kantorowicz And The Theatricality Of Absolutism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is about discursive practices in early modern Europe. It explores the relationships between the conceptualization of political sovereignty and elements of theatrical discursivity. More specifically, the chapter concentrates on the relationship between the origins of the concept of modern sovereignty in political theology ? as Ernst Kantorowicz has outlined them in his monumental ?pre-Foucauldian? study of The King?s Two Bodies, the strategies of ?theatricalization? in the political regimes that embraced the ideology of the King?s two bodies and the theatre and drama practices that took place in these contexts. This subject being too vast, we shall focus on several examples of discursive, political, and theatrical practices, allowing us to formulate some hypotheses about political theatricality in early modernity. A theatricality that could be called ?tragic? in the sense of Benjamin?s qualification of the Trauerspiel - a play that mourns the ruins of divine utopias.

Keywords: early modern Europe; Ernst Kantorowicz; modern sovereignty; political theology; theatrical discursivity; tragic



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