Execution of the Author : Absolutism, Allegory, and Terror under Anna Ioannovna Conférence

Organisateurs : Ada Ackerman, Kirill Ospovat (Humboldt Universität) ; Rodolphe Baudin (Université de Strasbourg)

Programme : Projets ARIAS/LabEx TransferS

ENS, salle Paul Langevin
29 rue d’Ulm
75005 Paris

Session 3. Execution of the Author : Absolutism, Allegory, and Terror under Anna Ioannovna
Mardi 26 septembre, 18h-20h, ENS salle Paul Langevin
Séance modérée par Rodolphe Baudin, Professeur d’Histoire de la littérature russe, université de Strasbourg

In this session, I will explore the complex theoretical relationship between absolute sovereignty, terror, and the possibility of political utterance. This tension underlays our theoretical assessments of both “absolutism” and “Enlightenment”, from Kant’s famous essay to twentieth-century works by Reinhart Koselleck and others. Addressing the reign of Anna Ioannovna, from the failed aristocratic revolution of 1730 to the political trial and execution of Artemii Volynskii in 1740, I will discuss the problematic role of discourse as a mode of political empowerment under “absolutism”, and the simultaneous dependence of authority on spectacular repression and discourse, from political theory to fiction. These discourses both provided an idiom for the regime’s general self-assessment and undermined their own possibility by insisting on total royal control over political utterance. This tension ultimately underlay the classicizing vision of literary poetics, conceptualized as the art of political equivocation : allegory.

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