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Shakespeare's Body PartsFiguring Sovereignty in the History Plays$
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Huw Griffiths

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474448703

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474448703.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Richard II as Robinson Crusoe: Sovereignty and the Impossibility of Solitude

Richard II as Robinson Crusoe: Sovereignty and the Impossibility of Solitude

(p.35) Chapter 1 Richard II as Robinson Crusoe: Sovereignty and the Impossibility of Solitude
Shakespeare's Body Parts

Huw Griffiths

Edinburgh University Press

Through a close reading of two key moments of Richard II – the king’s return from Ireland and his later imprisonment and murder – this chapter demonstrates that, whilst the play develops an emotional investment in the trope of the lonely, isolated sovereign, sovereignty itself is imagined differently. Sovereignty is never contained within the lonely figure of a solitary man’s body but rather made manifest through an engagement with the world and, particularly, the organic with the machine, the “natural” with the “artificial”. This is a reading which is opposed to the dominant influence of Kantorowicz’s account of Richard II in The King’s Two Bodies, and that engages with Derrida’s consideration of Robinson Crusoe’s lonely sovereignty in the second volume of his The Beast and the Sovereign lectures.

Keywords:   Shakespeare, Sovereignty, Richard II, The Body, Solitude, Daniel Defoe, Jacques Derrida, Ernst Kantorowicz

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