Taihei Hanada Samson in Labour: Milton and Early Modern Political Theology Vwoʼn 2019


Samson in Labour offers the first comprehensive discussion of John Miltonfs engagement with an English constitutional crisis of labour as reflected in Samson Agonistes. Taihei Hanada argues that the gsecularizingh of English politics in the century after the Restoration (1660) was due to a profound change in the conception and organization of labour. Drawing on the gtheologico-politicalh dimension of early modern labour, Hanada reassesses Miltonfs signification of labour as constituting a form of God-given freedom, putting Miltonfs ideas in dialogue with the writings of other early modern thinkers (such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke) on commerce, labour, slavery, land, work and aesthetic form.

Samson in Labour is a powerful, startling and intellectually rich encounter set among philosophy, economic theory and Milton, engaging a range of powerful thinkers and theorists, from Carl Schmitt, Hannah Arendt, Giorgio Agamben and Max Weber to Karl Marx, Aristotle, Giambattista Vico, Hegel, Walter Benjamin and Ernst Kantorowicz. Hanada tackles the origins and nature of modernity, secularization, economic relationships, property, time, colonization and freedom of choice, centered on the key question: gWhy, then, did Milton write Paradise Lost?h

1. Labour and Literature in Restoration England
2. Mapping the Scholarly Terrain
3. A Genealogy of Labour: Tracing a Keyword of Early Modernity

Chapter 1. eOf dire necessityf: The Metaphors of State in Samson Agonistes
1. Samson as Political Theory
2. Cain or the Violent Origin of Law
3. Hobbesfs Concept of Labour in the Revolution of the Sea, 1588-1688
4. eA Necessity of Commercef: English Mercantilism, 1664-1675
5. Milton as a Silkworm

Chapter 2. Aesthetics and the Problem of Labour in Samson Agonistes
1. Labour and Aesthetics after the Restoration
2. To Dress or to Till? The Cause of the Earth in Restoration Polemics, 1667-1677
3. The Sublimation of Agrarian Labour
4. The Phenomenology of Mind?
5. Saint Paul on Calling
6. Labour under the Law: Milton among the Calvinists

Chapter 3. From Homo Economicus to Optimus Homo: Samsonfs Poetics of the Corpse
1. Labour as Persona
2. A Poetics of the Corpse
3. Being Human (with Marx)
4. Being Human (with Aristotle)
5. Towards the Reason of the Political: Miltonfs Urania

Chapter 4. Labour and Utopia
1. The Maritime Death of Natural Language
2. Miltonfs Reply to the Machiavellian Moment
3. eLet us divide our laboursf
4. eLabouring had raisedf