Studies of the republican legacy have proliferated in recent years, always to argue for a polity that cultivates the virtues, protections, and entitlements which foster the self's ability to simulate an invulnerable existence. James Kuzner's original new study of writing by Spenser, Shakespeare, Marvell and Milton is the first to present a genealogy for the modern self in which its republican origins can be understood far more radically. In doing so, the study is also the first to draw radical and republican thought into sustained conversation, and to locate a republic for which vulnerability is, unexpectedly, as much what community has to offer as it is what community guards against. At a time when the drive to safeguard citizens has gathered enough momentum to justify almost any state action, Open Subjects questions whether vulnerability is the evil we so often believe it to be.
This is revelatory work that pries open challenging literary texts to reveal human vulnerability as a central thematic and political element. Kuzner will change our thinking about the early modern subject. --Barbara Correll, Cornell University
Sensitive to ambient changes in social life, Kuzner's heroes of vulnerability, adrift in an unguarded existence where immune defenses have been turned off, hatch scripts for "worlds elsewhere," alternative modernities founded on pleasure, enjoyment, and the forms of openness they incite and sustain. --Julia Reinhard Lupton, author of Thinking with Shakespeare: Essays on Politics and Life