Foucault, Ann Radcliffe and the geography of crime – a question on La société punitive

[Update: apologies, but the editor of the course, Bernard Harcourt, notes that this text is an ‘apocryphal novel’ on p. 62 n. 18. Don’t know how I missed that. Nonetheless, it does rather the question of whether the translation into French was the source of the misattribution, or whether there was an English original. And Foucault’s use of Radcliffe (and ‘Radcliffe’) remains interesting.]

In La société punitive, pp. 55-56, Foucault briefly mentions a novel by Ann Radcliffe, whose title he gives as Le château des Pyrénées. The editor Bernard Harcourt’s note is to “A. Radcliffe, Les visions du château des Pyrénées, trad. Germain Garnier & Mme Zimmermann [d’après] l’édition imprimée à Londres chez G. et J. Robinson en 1803, Paris, Lecointe et Durey, 1821, 4 vol.; nouv éd, trad. Yves Tessier, Paris, Éditions, B.I.E.N., 1946″. Harcourt adds that “Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823), English writer, was considered as one of the pioneers of the gothic novel… her best known works include The Romance of the ForestThe Mysteries of Udolfo and The Italian…” (n. 18).

Here’s the question: is Radcliffe not actually the author of the text Foucault references? [update: no, it’s not by her, the attribution is ‘apocryphal.] Or is this title a misleading translation of one of her major works? In favour of the first, the entry for the first edition Harcourt cites suggests that the book was misattributed; but there was an edition of The Mysteries of Udolfo published with G. and J. Robinson in 1803, also in four volumes. Anyone able to shed any light on this?

I do know that Radcliffe wrote a book with castle in the title, but those are castles in Scotland; and I know Foucault discussed Radcliffe elsewhere – it’s this reference I’m interested in. It’s interesting because Foucault uses her to talk about the geography of crime – located in sites outside of society, convents, castles, underground passages, mountains… These seem to apply to Radcliffe’s novels generally (he makes similar claims in the ‘Eye of Power’ interview), but I wondered why Foucault highlighted this one.

Incidentally, Harcourt references an excellent article on Bentham and Radcliffe, departing from Foucault’s contrast in the interview, by Claire Wrobel, which is available online – “Gothique, réforme et Panoptique”, Revue d’études benthamiennes, No 7, 2010, and her thesis ‘Gothique et panoptique‘, 2009, which looks very interesting too.

[Update: thanks to Alexander de la Paz for the following information on Foucault’s use of Radcliffe in Les Anormaux/Abnormal: “the accompanying footnote (pg. 99,
in the French; 107 in English) dubs Les Visions du château des
Pyrénées apocryphal”. I didn’t have that text of Foucault’s to hand, but it makes sense. Plus see the comment at the top of the post.]

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