This book examines politics through the lens of art and literature. Through discussion on great works of visual art, literature, and cultural representations of political thought in the medieval, early modern, and American eras, it explores the relevance of the nation-state to human freedom and flourishing, as well as the concept of citizenship and statesmanship that it implies, in contrast to that of the ‘global community’. The essays in this volume focus on shifting notions of various core political concepts like citizenship, republicanism, and nationalism from antiquity to the present-day to provide a systematic understanding of their evolving histories through Western Art and literature. It highlights works such as the Bayeux Tapestry, Shakespeare’s Henry V, Henry VI, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twain’s Joan of Arc and Hermann’s Nichts als Gespenster, among several other canonical works of political interest. Further, it questions if we should now look beyond the nation-state to some form of tans-national, global community to pursue the human freedom desired by progressives, or look at smaller forms of community resembling the polis to pursue the friendship and nobility valued by the ancients.

The volume will be invaluable to students and teachers of political science, especially political theory and philosophy, visual arts, and world literature.

chapter |8 pages


The artistic foundations of nations and citizens: art, literature, and the political community

part I|62 pages

Political foundation, citizen virtue, and nation in visual art

chapter 1|16 pages

The Bayeux Tapestry

Nationalism before nations and globes

chapter 2|26 pages

Justice, peace, and the common good in Trecento Siena

A political study of Ambrogio Lorenzetti's Ben Comune

chapter 3|18 pages

J. M. W. Turner and painting politics

The beauty of Britain

part II|87 pages

Republicanism, statesmanship, and nation-building in the plays of William Shakespeare

chapter 6|15 pages

What is a nation?

Shakespeare's reflections on nation-building in the plays of Henry VI

part III|43 pages

The early modern and contemporary critique of liberalism and globalism

chapter 9|13 pages

Judith Hermann's Nichts als Gespenster

Globality, ambient romance, and identity tourism

part IV|15 pages

Reflections on nationalism in the American political novel

chapter 10|13 pages

Neither patriot nor saint

The theological implications of Twain's portrait of nationalism in Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc