Research Stream


Brandon Chua
The University of Hong Kong (formerly The University of Queensland)

The Passions and Political Obligation in Later Stuart England

Looking at representations of the English civil wars in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, this study analyses contemporary understandings of the passions and how they could challenge, as well as resolve ongoing crises of political authority and legitimacy.

The Passions and Political Obligation in Later Stuart England

What did civic duty mean in the aftermath of the violent conflict between King and Parliament in the 1640s? How was the relationship between subject and sovereign to be understood and negotiated in the aftermath of civil war? This study looks at the political crises of mid seventeenth century Britain as affective crises, as a populace was forced to rearticulate and redefine the terms of subjection in a post-regicidal state. The emotional language traditionally used to naturalize a political relationship between king and subject was subjected to intense scrutiny, as competing narratives of public duty and political obligation jostled for dominance in a public sphere engaged in a destabilizing discussion over the grounds for political duty and the public affections needed to legitimate them. The study examines imaginative literature written from 1642-1714, treating them as key discursive sites for the analysis of political affection and its place in a newly constituted public order. Poems, romances and plays are read alongside works of political theory, newsletters, pamphlets, petitions, and broadsides, as the emotional work performed by imaginative genres is understood in the context of a broader public discussion on construing civic purpose in the wake of a crisis of public life.  


“The Purposes of Playing on the Post Civil War Stage: The Politics of Affection in William Davenant’s Dramatic Theory.” Exemplaria. Vol 26 (2014).

“Rochester’s Libertine Poetry as Philosophical Education”. The Discourse of Sensibility. Ed. Martin Lloyd. New York: Springer, 2014. [co-authoured with Justin Clemens].

“Ravished by Reason”: The Heroic Idiom and Governance in Late Stuart Drama. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press[Forthcoming in December 2014].