I gave a talk about Foucault’s Les aveux de la chair on May 9th at the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought, Goldsmiths University. Full details here.
The talk was based on my review essay on the book, published on the Theory, Culture & Society website. If you’ve read that review, then there is little in the talk beyond it, but since a couple of people asked, an audio recording of the talk is available here.
In February 2018 the fourth volume of Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality was finally published. Les Aveux de la chair [Confessions of the Flesh] was edited by Frédéric Gros, and appeared in the same Gallimard series as volumes 1, 2 and 3. The book treats the early Christian Church Fathers of the 2nd-5th century. This talk will discuss the book in relation to Foucault’s other work, showing how it sits in sequence with volumes 2 and 3, but also partly bridges the chronological and conceptual gap to volume 1. It will discuss the state of the book and whether it should have been published, despite Foucault’s stipulation of ‘no posthumous publications’. It will outline the contents of the book, which is in three parts on the formation of a new experience, on virginity and on marriage. There are also some important supplementary materials included. The talk will discuss how it begins to answer previously unanswered questions about Foucault’s work, and will also say something about how the book might be received and discussed.