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Hobbes’s Hidden Monster: A New Interpretation of the Frontispiece of Leviathan
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2014 (English)In: European Journal of Political Theory, ISSN 1474-8851, E-ISSN 1741-2730, Vol. 13, no 3, 299-320 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In recent years, much work has been done on the role of images in Hobbes. But there is an unsolved riddle with regard to the famous frontispiece of Leviathan (1651). Why is there nothing monstrous in the sovereign body depicted, despite the fact that it is named for a Biblical sea monster? In this article it is argued that there is a monster just barely hidden in the image and that the iconographical tradition helps us rediscover this creature. We argue that this monstrosity serves a theoretical and political purpose pertaining to fear and imagery within Hobbes’s overall project and in the political con- text of his time. Moreover, we argue that the discovery of the hitherto unknown monster should make political theory and intellectual history sensitive to the role played by physical images in Hobbes as well as in political thought at large.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Sage Publications, 2014. Vol. 13, no 3, 299-320 p.
Keyword [en]
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, image, monster, animal
National Category
History of Ideas Arts Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-216407DOI: 10.1177/1474885113491954OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-216407DiVA: diva2:689660
Available from: 2014-01-21 Created: 2014-01-21 Last updated: 2014-07-18Bibliographically approved

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Tralau, Johan
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