My review essay of the fourth volume of Foucault’s History of Sexuality, Les aveux de la chair is now available in Theory, Culture and Society. The essay will appear in the annual review of the journal later this year, but this version is open access.
Almost thirty-four years after his death, the book Foucault was working on even in hospital is finally published. Histoire de la sexualité 4: Les aveux de la chair, edited by Frédéric Gros, appeared on 8 February 2018 with Gallimard, in the Bibliothèque des Histoires series in which the first three volumes had appeared. The back cover simply has the line of René Char that also appeared on volumes II and III. “The history of men is the long succession of synonyms of the same term [vocable]. To contradict them is a duty”. Can we read this book in straight-forward continuity with those other volumes, completing the sequence of studies? How finished a book was it, and should it have been published despite Foucault’s stipulation of ‘no posthumous publications’? What does the book contain, and how does it help resolve previously unanswered questions about Foucault’s work? How might it be received and discussed? I will try to address these questions in this essay. [continues here]