The Art of Sovereignty : Body Politic and the Poetic Imagination Conférence

Organisateurs : Ada Ackerman, Kirill Ospovat (Humboldt Universität) ; Olga Medvedkova (CNRS)

Ecole Normale Supérieure, salle Paul Langevin
29 rue d’Ulm
75005 Paris

Dernière conférence du professeur Kirill Ospovat dans le cadre du cycle "Sovereignty as Practice and Manifestation : Terror, Reform, and the Poetics of Rule in Early Modern Russia and Europe", soutenu par le LabEx Transfers.
Pour cette dernière conférence, Kirill Ospovat mêlera histoire et théorie littéraire, philosophie politique, histoire des représentations et approche des transfers culturels pour examiner les liens entre conception de l’exercice du pouvoir politique et conception de l’activité littéraire, et plus particulièrement poétique, dans la Russie du XVIIIe siècle.

En voici le résumé :
In the final session, I will illuminate the emergence of early Russian literary aesthetics from the visions of sovereignty. Early modern conceptions of statehood famously depended on fictions and tropes such as the “body politic”. This dependence unfolded in a zone of conflation and interplay between literary creation and political thinking which was by the late eighteenth century defined as aesthetics. I will explore the workings of this mechanism in the solemn ode, the genre which thanks to the oeuvre of Mikhail Lomonosov dominated early Russian secular letters. As a form of political imagination, the ode (based on Western models such as François Malherbe) was responsible for developing the system of tropes which had to submit the imagination of the populace to the new order. For Hobbes, this procedure was defined as “art”, and the state emerged as an “artificial man” as well as “a mortal god” assembled from individual subjects : Leviathan. The state was only conceivable in the form of a grandiose trope or fiction, and this understanding of statehood underwrote Lomonosov’s odic poetics and the emerging literary aesthetics in general.

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