Devin Shaw kindly links to my Berfrois review of Leçons sur la volonté de savoir. He mentions that I don’t elaborate on a point I make about the provenance of the material – “Unlike the other courses published to date, this volume is based almost entirely on Foucault’s manuscript for the course, rather than transcribed from tape recordings of the actual delivery.” He then links to my earlier ‘initial thoughts’ on this book, posted on this blog back in May.
While the previously published lecture courses have been based on tapes of the lectures as delivered, supplemented to varying degrees by manuscript materials, here the manuscripts are the basis of the edition, with the bits of recordings that do exist, along with some notes taken by Hélène Politis from the audience to fill out the presentation. There are some missing sections in the manuscript, including the material on Nietzsche, which Defert has replaced with other materials including notably the text of a lecture on Nietzsche from later in 1971. There is also another supplementary related text, ‘Le savoir d’Oedipe’. The ‘no posthumous publications’ injunction, previously circumvented by publishing transcriptions of tapes in the public domain, is now being entirely ignored. Might an edition of The History of Sexuality volume four, Les aveux de la chair, now be conceivable?
The draft of my September lecture on this course goes into a bit more detail about the relation between the lectures delivered, the manuscripts they were based on, and the text we now have available. But the review is 1,400 words long; the lecture about 6,000. So not everything in the lecture is in the review.