Theoretically informed scholarship on early modern English utopian literature has largely focused on Marxist interpretation of these texts in an attempt to characterize them as proto- Marxist. The present volume instead focuses on subjectivity in early modern English utopian writing by using these texts as case studies to explore intersections of the thought of Jacques Lacan and Michel Foucault. Both Lacan and Foucault moved back and forth between structuralist and post-structuralist intellectual trends and ultimately both defy strict categorization into either camp. Although numerous studies have appeared that compare Lacan’s and Foucault’s thought, there have been relatively few applications of their thought together onto literature. By applying the thought of both theorists, who were not literary critics, to readings of early modern English utopian literature, this study will, on the one hand, describe the formation of utopian subjectivity that is both psychoanalytically (Oedipal and pre-Oedipal) and socially constructed, and, on the other hand, demonstrate new ways in which the thought of Lacan and Foucault inform and complement each other when applied to literary texts.  The utopian subject is a malleable subject, a subject whose linguistic, psychoanalytical subjectivity determines the extent to which environmental and social factors manifest in an identity that moves among Lacan’s Symbolic, Imaginary, and Real.

part Section 1|41 pages

Introductory Matters

chapter 1|18 pages

Introducing Utopia

chapter 2|21 pages

“If Only this were some day possible”

Thomas More’s Utopia and Lacan’s Three Orders of Subjectivity

part Section 2|52 pages

The Utopian Symbolic

chapter 3|16 pages

Stealth Self on the Shelf

Surveillance, Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, and Symbolic Subjectivity

chapter 4|20 pages

Power Is Knowledge

Surveillance, Biopower, and Linguistic Subjectivity in John Eliot’s The Christian Commonwealth

part Section 3|59 pages

The Utopian Imaginary

chapter 6|20 pages

“Out of the Authority of the Arabians”

Orientalism and Utopian Intellectual History in Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy

chapter 7|16 pages

Gerrard Winstanley’s Utopian Mission

chapter 8|21 pages

Margaret Cavendish’s Book of Imaginary Beings

Philosophical Animals and Physiognomic Philosophers in The Blazing World