Focusing on the new theories of human motivation that emerged during the transition from feudalism to the modern period, this is the first book of new essays on the relationship between politics and the passions from Machiavelli to Bentham. Contributors address the crisis of moral and philosophical discourse in the early modern period; the necessity of inventing a new way of describing the relation between reflection and action, and private and public selves; the disciplinary regulation of the body; and the ideological constitution of identity. The collection as a whole asks whether a discourse of the passions might provide a critical perspective on the politics of subjectivity. Whatever their specific approach to the question of ideology, all the essays reconsider the legacy of the passions in modern political theory and the importance of the history of politics and the passions for modern political debates.
Contributors, in addition to the editors, are Nancy Armstrong, Judith Butler, Riccardo Caporali, Howard Caygill, Patrick Coleman, Frances Ferguson, John Guillory, Timothy Hampton, John P. McCormick, and Leonard Tennenhouse.