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frame of Laws, or the best state or mould of a commonwealth; but foreseeing that it would be a long work, his desire of collecting the Natural History diverted him.’6 Natural history is privileged above political theory, just as the New Atlantis itself, ‘A Worke unfinished’, is placed at the end of the volume containing the Sylva Sylvarum, natural history collected from a mixture of observation and reading. In the New Atlantis, the practice of science appears to be kept institutionally and geographically separate from politics, with considerable autonomy being given

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis
Open Access (free)
Old things with new things to say

. Key theoretical concepts –​ agency, autonomy, subjectivity, objectivity, self, other, voice, body, age, gender, genre –​have all been put under strain. These concepts have all played their part in the various branches of critical theory since the latter half of the twentieth century, but by applying them to things, mere things, we take such concepts to the limit of their meaning –​that is, we stretch them almost to breaking point. This is especially true when applying theory to early medieval things, where the gaps in our knowledge of this period prevent us from

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
Feminist aesthetics, negativity and semblance

autonomy and the critical social function of art, such an approach would contest the historical separation not only between political and aesthetic spheres but also between gender and ‘the colour line’ fracturing these spheres from within, while remaining suspicious of their false reconciliation. Put in a different way, feminist aesthetics has to find new ways of mediation between the aesthetic autonomy of art and the sexual, racial politics of modernity without overcoming the productive tension between them. Rather than subsuming art by politics, this mediation should

in The new aestheticism
The paradoxes of sustainability and Michel Houellebecq’s The Possibility of an Island

nature would yield a commensurate increase of human autonomy. The more we learn about the natural world, the greater the margin of freedom we enjoy in constructing a human world where the dignity of the individual can find respect. Neo-Malthusianism confounded this logic: in applying the principles of scientific naturalism to the human species itself, it had arrived at an account of the latter according to which scientific truth now demanded the curbing of emancipatory aspirations and a relinquishment of individual autonomy. The Brundtland Report (and the discourse of

in Literature and sustainability
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Towards an archaeology of modernism

simultaneous. In a gesture that will always strike his critics as intolerably fast, Adorno conceives of autonomy in art as categorially or formally setting art into opposition to society: Melancholy as form 169 Much more importantly, art becomes social by its opposition to society, and it occupies this position only as autonomous art. By crystallizing in itself as something unique to itself, rather than complying with existing social norms and qualifying as ‘socially useful,’ it criticizes society by merely existing, for which puritans of all stripes condemn it. There is

in The new aestheticism
Open Access (free)
Nonreading in late-medieval England

that echoes through the letter’s movement. Facilitated by Pandarus, the letter here asserts a violent, sexualized authority over Criseyde’s body, acting not only as a communicative object and love-token, but as assailant. This work of the letter thus queers Criseyde’s body as the two intermingle, destabilizing Criseyde’s bodily privacy and independence. In this way, analysing the work of nonreading in this scene shows how the letter compromises Criseyde’s bodily autonomy, thus undermining her earlier claim that ‘I am myn owene womman’ (II.750). This loss of autonomy

in Participatory reading in late-medieval England
Open Access (free)
An introduction

great narratives of modernity: from the time of its autonomy through art-for-art’s-sake to its status as a necessary negative category, a critique of the world as it is. It is this last moment (figured brilliantly in the writings of Theodor Adorno) that is hard to relinquish: the notion of the aesthetic as subversive, a critical interstice in an otherwise instrumental world. Now, however, we have to consider that this aesthetic space too is eclipsed . . .13 Foster’s caricature of aesthetic autonomy aside, one needs to ask precisely what might be at stake in his

in The new aestheticism
Open Access (free)
Self-entrapment in Waiting for Godot

), beginning a struggle between enmeshment and autonomy that forms the heart of a play filled with aborted separations. An unknown gang has beaten Estragon, while he was apart from Vladimir/ mother:13 Vladimir: When I think of it … all these years but for me … where would you be … ? (Decisively.) You’d be nothing more than a heap of bones at the present minute, no doubt about it. Estragon: And what of it? Vladimir: (gloomily). It’s too much for one man. (9–10) Estragon’s separation from Vladimir links a hostile world to the primary abandonment of a Godot/mother who is

in Samuel Beckett and the primacy of love
Open Access (free)
Identities in crisis in the early novels of Marie Darrieussecq

dermatologist, the fantastic figure of the marabout, the gynaecologists and last but not least her partner who declares that ‘les femmes, ça a toujours des problèmes de ventre’ (p. ) (‘women always have problems with their insides’ (p. )). In each case what comes to the fore are her increasingly acute sense of shame, negative self-perception and lack of autonomy as her body deviates from society’s exacting gold standard of sexual desirability. It is not possible within the scope of this chapter to explore every twist of Truismes’s picaresque narrative. Instead, if we are

in Women’s writing in contemporary France

and decisions of those who are considering surrogacy (Riggs and Due, 2010; 2013; van den Akker et al., 2016), as well as surrogacy law and policy (Millbank, 2012). In Western feminist thought, the notion of reproductive rights, centred around values such as choice and bodily autonomy, have primarily regarded the right to access birth control such as contraceptives and abortion. However, in the current context of declining fertility rates in the Global North, reproduction is increasingly valued (Eng, 2010), and new reproductive technologies (ARTs) enable new claims

in The power of vulnerability