This introduction outlines the general arguments of the book. First, the chapter outlines the book’s central argument, which is that if we look at love as an emotion that includes a good deal of suffering, ambivalence, and hostility, then the early modern claim that love is the source of political consent and obedience seems far less ideologically conservative. In particular, it argues that the violent and incoherent libidinal bonds depicted in so much early modern literature require us to reconsider our views of both gender identity and political allegiance in the period. Early modern writers dwelt on the perverse and masochistic side of love in order to explore tensions within English constitutional thought as well as tensions within cultural ideals of masculinity and femininity. This introduction also outlines major claims of the book’s individual chapters.
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