Every month, Paul Chase in the Penn Press Journals department invites our blog readers to download a complimentary article from one of our many scholarly journals.
Paul's Pick for the Ides of March is "Sympathy for the Sovereign: Sovereignty, Sympathy, and the Colonial Relation in Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," by Peter DeGabriele of Mississippi State University. The article appears in The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation Vol. 53.1 Spring 2012.
Sympathy, then, is questioned not only in its inapplicability to geological masses, but also in its reach, in its ability to stretch its combinatory powers over large distances. It is precisely this capacity of sympathy that gets called into question within the realm of human affairs throughout The Decline and Fall. In particular, Gibbon questions the ability of sympathy to bridge the vast social gap between sovereign and subject, and also between Imperial center and colonial periphery. In doing so, he questions what had become a dominant theme in eighteenth-century political philosophy at his time of writing: the replacement of the vertical bond with the sovereign as the agent of social cohesion, by the horizontal force of sympathy.
To download this free article and learn more about The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, click here.
Check the Penn Press Log on April 15 for Paul's next pick.