Foucault’s Last Decade – sixth update

Much of the recent work on this project has been continuing work on Chapter Three, especially the discussions of perverts, women and children. I keep reworking sections and adding more and more detail, well aware some of this will need to be cut back at some point. I have some more work to do here.

Update 6

Part of the reason that I didn’t get to finish this chapter was the publication of La société punitive, which had been somewhat delayed. I am committed to writing a review for Berfrois on this course, and need to integrate a discussion into Chapter One. But already my notes file is getting longer than the likely length of either of those pieces. I shared my initial thoughts on the course here and here.

Along the way I also made some notes about the lettres de cachet in Foucault’s work at this time. In The Abnormals he discusses the work that Christiane Martin was doing on these, but a note of the editors says she died before completing this work. This was an early stage of the work that Foucault and Farge would complete as Le désordre des familles, published in 1982. (Earlier this year Jeremy Crampton had the news that this book is finally being translated into English.) The lettres de cachet were a concern of Foucault’s from History of Madness until the end of his life, and they crop up in lecture courses in the 1970s fairly often, but it’s not a widely researched area.

I also wrote a couple of pages that will go at the end of Chapter Five, assessing what we know of Foucault’s original, thematic, plan for the History of Sexuality from lecture material. Foucault drafted some of the volumes of this original series, but either destroyed or abandoned the manuscripts. That section will be reworked in time, but it felt a good time to draft parts of it.

You can now read more about this book on a dedicated page, with links to all previous updates.

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