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Fulke Greville and the Culture of the English Renaissance$
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Russ Leo, Katrin Röder, and Freya Sierhuis

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198823445

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198823445.001.0001

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‘Natures freedome’, the Art of Sovereignty and Mustapha’s Tragic Insolubility

‘Natures freedome’, the Art of Sovereignty and Mustapha’s Tragic Insolubility

Fulke Greville and Jean Bodin Among the Ottomans

Chapter:
(p.74) 5 ‘Natures freedome’, the Art of Sovereignty and Mustapha’s Tragic Insolubility
Source:
Fulke Greville and the Culture of the English Renaissance
Author(s):

Russ Leo

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198823445.003.0005

As Fulke Greville examines Suleiman the Magnificent’s 1552 execution of his son Mustapha in his tragedy Mustapha, so too does the Ottoman episode figure prominently in Jean Bodin’s most important political works, exposing the fraught relationship between nature and sovereignty. This chapter examines Bodin’s treatment of the Mustapha episode, illustrating how he uses the event to subtly expose the paradoxes at work in sovereignty before demonstrating the relevance of these discoveries to Greville’s own work. Greville, moreover, seizes upon tragedy’s capacity to express these paradoxes, to dramatize in vivid detail the insoluble problem at the heart of Bodin’s theses on nature and sovereignty. Mustapha does not ground any one politics but rather reveals the aporetic foundation of any sovereign power in nature—that is to say, of every sovereign power—as well as the confusing and often conflicting character of political life.

Keywords:   Greville, Fulke, Bodin, Jean, Reformation, tragedy, poetics, sovereignty, Mustapha, natural law

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