Wayward Contracts
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Wayward Contracts

The Crisis of Political Obligation in England, 1640-1674
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Victoria Kahn
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Acknowledgments xiAbbreviations xiii
CHAPTER 1. Introduction 1
From Virtue to Contract 8
The Psychology of Contract 13
Poetics and the Contract of Genre 15
The Usual Story 20
The Road Ahead 25
PART I: An Anatomy of Contract,1590-1640 29
CHAPTER 2. Language and the Bond of Conscience 31
Natural Rights Theory: The Social Contract and the Linguistic Contract 33
The Common Law: Magna Carta and Economic Contract 41
Covenant Theology: Divine Speech Acts and the Covenant of Metaphor 48
CHAPTER 3. The Passions and Voluntary Servitude 57
The Slave Contract 60
The Law of the Heart 64
Free Consent 73
PART II: A Poetics of Contract, 1640-1674 81
CHAPTER 4. Imagination 83
Five Knights: From Promise to Contract 85
Shipmoney and the Imagination of Disaster 90
Henry Parker and the Metaphor of Contract 95
Falkland, Chillingworth, Digges, and the Fiction of Representation 104
CHAPTER 5. Violence 112
Prophesying Revolution 113
The Metaphorical Plot 120
CHAPTER 6. Metalanguage 134
The Problem of Essex 138
Hobbe's Critique of Romance 141
The Contract of Mimesis 147
Hobbesian Fictions 151
Method and Metalanguage 154
Hobbes's Readers or Inescapable Romance 166
CHAPTER 7. Gender 171
Political Contract and the Marriage Contract 174
The Politics of Romance 177
Passion and Interest 180
Contract on Trial 185
The Sexual Contract 189
The Paralogism of Romance 192
CHAPTER 8. Embodiment 196
Resistless Love and Hate 198
Paradise Lost and the Bond of Nature 207
Pity or Fear of Violent Death 214
CHAPTER 9. Sympathy 223
Wise Compliance 227
The Politics of Pity 234
Sympathy between Men 241
CHAPTER 10. Critique 252
Reason of State 254
Samson as Exception 262
Reasoning about the Exception: Dialectic and Equivocation 264
Taking Exception to Pity and Fear 270
Political Theology and Tragedy 276
CHAPTER 11. Conclusion 279
Notes 285
Index 365
Why did the language of contract become the dominant metaphor for the relationship between subject and sovereign in mid-seventeenth-century England? In Wayward Contracts, Victoria Kahn takes issue with the usual explanation for the emergence of contract theory in terms of the origins of liberalism, with its notions of autonomy, liberty, and equality before the law.

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