Current Issue Article Abstracts

Volume 83, Number 3, July 2022 




Liberality as a Fiscal Problem in Medieval and Renaissance Thought: A Genealogy from Aristotle's Tyrant to Machiavelli's Prince
Giorgio Lizzul

This article explores the legacy of Aristotle's advice for the preservation of tyrannies found in Politics Book 5, Chapter 11 on the formation of medieval and Renaissance fiscal literature. The tyrant's economic techniques for preserving his regime established commonplaces of fiscal governance in the medieval commentary and mirrors-for-princes tradition. Authors' engagement with the legacy of this passage led to controversial treatments of a ruler's disposition toward the moral virtue of liberality. Machiavelli's intervention over the danger of liberality to the fiscal governance of the state needs to be placed in this longer context.


Debating Drama in the Early Modern University: John Case, Aristotle's Politics, and a Previously Unknown Oxford Disputation
Daniel Blank

This article presents evidence of a previously unknown seventeenth-century disputation at the University of Oxford on the controversial subject of theatrical performance. The evidence appears in the student notebook of Edmund Leigh, who received his BA from Brasenose College in 1604, and who was a protégé of the renowned scholar and theologian John Rainolds. Leigh's notes, which are drawn mainly from Aristotle's Politics and John Case's commentary on that text, provide valuable insight into academic debates over drama. They also suggest that Aristotle, and the Politics in particular, played a larger role in these discussions than scholars have acknowledged.


Charles Francis Sheridan on the Feudal Origins and Political Science of the 1772 Revolution in Sweden
Max Skjönsberg

Gustav III's royal coup in 1772 reestablished strong monarchy and ended the Age of Liberty (Frihetstiden) in Sweden. The event attracted much interest and commentary across Europe. The most detailed account of the episode and sophisticated analysis of its causes was Charles Francis Sheridan's now forgotten History of the Late Revolution in Sweden (1778). Sheridan used Enlightenment history and political science to argue that the reasons for the Swedish revolution went beyond its flawed constitution and could be traced to the Swedish national character and the circumstances of its orders, determined by its longue durée history, laws, geography, and climate.


The Neapolitan Enlightenment and the Conceptual Challenges of Antislavery Legislation in Colombia
Edgardo Pérez Morales

This article studies the connected history of the Neapolitan Enlightenment, Spanish American colonial culture, and republican antislavery. Rather than adopting novel abolitionist paradigms wholesale, Colombia's antislavery legislators resorted to old ideas and convictions. Antislavery legal formulations did not diverge from Spanish culture, adapting long-existing Mediterranean notions instead. Legislators turned to the figure of the Christian captive as the spiritual equivalent of the African slave, making legible, and possible, republican manumission as an act of pious redemption. Under pressure from slave claimants, Colombian antislavery legislators passed a gradual manumission law in 1814, selectively applying Gaetano Filangieri's celebrated Science of legislation.


From Status Politics to the Paranoid Style: Richard Hofstadter and the Pitfalls of Psychologizing History
Andrew McKenzie-McHarg

The decade extending from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s in the career of the American historian Richard Hofstadter (1916–70) was marked by a series of engagements with American right-wing politics. This article seeks to re-evaluate the evolution of Hofstadter's thinking over this decade, in part by drawing upon the recently discovered transcript of a BBC radio lecture that Hofstadter recorded in 1959 and that represents the first occasion on which he developed the notion of a "paranoid style" as a pattern of thought and action recurring through American political history.


Identity, Immigration, and Islam: Neo-reactionary and New-Right Perceptions and Prescriptions
Sarah Shurts

This article is an effort to examine the discourses of French identity in crisis by four disparate New Right and "neo-reactionary" intellectuals (Alain de Benoist, Guillaume Faye, Renaud Camus, and Alain Finkielkraut) whose work contributes to the anti-immigration, anti-Islam and identity-based thought of twenty-first-century France. It argues that shared discourse of French identity in crisis as a result of Muslim immigration provides a common ground for these intellectuals despite their diverse origins, their disagreement over how to define French identity, and their prescriptions for its salvation.


The Many Lives of René Descartes
Steven Nadler

A review essay of recent biographies of Descartes. 


Books Received