ABSTRACT

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explores the emergence of nationalism, republicanism, and the virtues of citizenship and statesmanship they both imply, in relation to that of the polis and the “global community.” It describes these themes in great works of visual art and literature in the medieval, Renaissance, early modern, and American eras. The book considers early modern and contemporary literary critiques of the liberal imperialism and globalism understood as emanating from the modern nation-state itself. It explains the principles upon which the American and early modern liberal regime rest. The book explores the heroism, not of the individual who withdraws into nature and then returns to society, but of Joan of Arc, in order to illustrate the limits of a theological justification for an exclusive nationalism or American exceptionalism.