Arbitrary Rule offers a rich, intricately detailed account of numerous issues likely to engage and inspire readers in a multitude of fields, from political theory to literature, from radical race theory to colonial and postcolonialist discourses. Mary Nyquist explores an evolving ideology that dominated European political thought for centuries: the antityranny discourse formulated by Aristotle and inherited by a long line of successors. His central distinction between freeborn citizens and slaves was maintained, with important modifications, by a long Greco-Roman tradition and much later (after its reemergence in the Renaissance Italian city-states) by prominent sixteenth- and seventeenth-century resistance theorists in France, England, and the Netherlands. Nyquist opens with an intensive and illuminating close reading of both Aristotle and Cicero, but she is otherwise almost exclusively concerned with later, mostly British and French developments of their theories. This focus is determined by the...
Arbitrary Rule: Slavery, Tyranny, and the Power of Life and Death
Catherine Gimelli Martin served as Dunavant Professor at the University of Memphis during 2005–8. Her books include The Ruins of Allegory: “Paradise Lost” and the Metamorphosis of Epic Convention (1998), which received the Milton Society of America’s James Holly Hanford Prize in 1999; Milton and Gender (ed., 2004); Milton among the Puritans: The Case for Historical Revisionism (2010); and French Connections in the English Renaissance, edited with Hassan Melehy (2013). A new monograph, tentatively titled Milton’s Italy, is scheduled for 2015–16.
Catherine Gimelli Martin; Arbitrary Rule: Slavery, Tyranny, and the Power of Life and Death. Modern Language Quarterly 1 December 2015; 76 (4): 518–521. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00267929-3152846
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