Day one in the Foucault archive at UC Berkeley

416WWM6N5ELToday was my first day doing work on Foucault in the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. Alain Beaulieu wrote a useful guide to “The Foucault Archives at Berkeley”, in Foucault Studies in 2010, and much of what they have is also available at IMEC.

But there are some surprises still, including the manuscript page of this image – the original is black on white.  It’s included in a confusingly labelled file: “Preface and Introduction to ‘Genealogy of Ethics’, with notes [n.d.]” (BANC 90/136z 1:13).

Actually what is in this file is the conflation of two things. Why these two quite different materials, in form, content, provenance and destination, are in the same folder is not at all clear. The first part is a draft of the Preface and Introduction to the second volume of the History of Sexuality. As the same material is in the Bibliothèque Nationale I can date it to early 1983, probably March. It’s a fairly clean, typed text of 51 pages. Foucault gave this text to Paul Rabinow for use in The Foucault Reader. Only the ‘Preface’ was translated for that book, and the French of that part appeared in Dits et écrits. The two parts of the ‘Introduction’ proper – ‘Question’ and ‘Method’ – are not published elsewhere. This introduction went through multiple revisions and rewrites before appearing in The Use of Pleasures in 1984 (see my analysis of the various published versions here). The second material in this folder, from which the diagram sheet comes, comprises unpaginated preparatory handwritten notes for the ‘On the Genealogy of Ethics’ interview with Rabinow and Hubert Dreyfus. IMEC has the longer transcripts of the discussions which were used to produce the interview; Bancroft surprisingly does not.

The handwritten manuscript of ‘What is Enlightenment?’ (BANC 90/136z 1:15) is also interesting. Someone has annotated/deciphered Foucault’s handwriting in pencil. His writing is, at times, really difficult to read. The curator of the archive has suggested this is the translator, Catherine Porter, which is certainly possible, but there is a clean typed version in French later in the same file, which suggests that a typist did it instead. There were typist annotations on some of the manuscripts in Paris too.

There are some other interesting things here, including some tapes which I’ve not heard before, so will work through those over the next two days.

This entry was posted in Foucault's Last Decade, Michel Foucault. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Day one in the Foucault archive at UC Berkeley

  1. Box 1, Folder 4 — very interesting stuff. A much redacted form of this discussion was published. But some of the redacted material is very interesting (or to me it is). If I recall correctly (though I may not), one of the tapes there is a recording of the conversation of which the typescript in this folder is the transcription. (You are dropping by to see PR too, I hope?)

    • stuartelden says:

      Yes indeed, though I read all those pieces years ago at IMEC. I will go through them again if time allows. I did write to PR a while back, but never had a reply, and I’d heard he was now fully retired and not engaging in correspondence. A shame, but I understand and respect his decision.

  2. Pingback: Day two in the Foucault archive at UC Berkeley | Progressive Geographies

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