Hobbes and Corneille on political representation

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In this essay, I compare the meaning of political representation in Hobbes' Leviathan and Corneille's Cinna. For both authors, a monarch is a "representer" and representation is a necessary condition of effective sovereignty. However, the term "representation" means something entirely different in Hobbes and in Corneille. For the former, it means acting and speaking in the name of a multitude and in its absence; for the latter, it means acting and speaking in the presence of a political public, with the intention to impress this audience. I would like to argue that our late modern (or postmodern) conception of sovereignty can be seen as being (unconsciously) based on the conjunction of Hobbes' and Corneille's different notions of representation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-389
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Legacy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Philosophy


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