Looks like it is the year of the state. I have written two articles, one on the nature of the socialist state, and another on the transition between bourgeois and socialist states. Currently, I am completing an article on the absolutist ‘Christian state’, which was the (Prussian) context in which Marx and Engels began their early work. I am taken with Marx’s argument that the secular, bourgeois state is the full (dialectical) realisation of the absolutist Christian state.

Meanwhile, a snippet of what life was like for an absolute monarch, with a focus on France:

The king of France was thoroughly, without residue, a “public” personage. His mother gave birth to him in public, and from that moment his existence, down to its most trivial moments, was acted out before the eyes of attendants who were holders of dignified offices. He ate in public, went to bed in public, woke up and was clothed and groomed in public, urinated and defecated in public. He did not much bathe in public; but then neither did he do so in private. I know of no evidence that he copulated in public; but he came near enough, considering the circumstances under which he was expected to deflower his august bride. When he died (in public), his body was promptly and messily chopped up in public, and its severed parts ceremoniously handed out to the more exalted among the personages who had been attending him throughout his mortal existence (Poggi, The Development of the Modern State, pp. 68-69).

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