Michel Foucault, Discourse and Truth and Parresia, University of Chicago Press, 2019
edited by Henri-Paul Fruchaud and Daniele Lorenzini, English edition established by Nancy Luxon
This volume collects a series of lectures given by the renowned French thinker Michel Foucault late in his career. The book is composed of two parts: a talk, Parrēsia, delivered at the University of Grenoble in 1982, and a series of lectures entitled “Discourse and Truth,” given at the University of California, Berkeley in 1983, which appears here for the first time in its full and correct form. Together, they provide an unprecedented account of Foucault’s reading of the Greek concept of parrēsia, often translated as “truth-telling” or “frank speech.” The lectures trace the transformation of this concept across Greek, Roman, and early Christian thought, from its origins in pre-Socratic Greece to its role as a central element of the relationship between teacher and student. In mapping the concept’s history, Foucault’s concern is not to advocate for free speech; rather, his aim is to explore the moral and political position one must occupy in order to take the risk to speak truthfully.
These lectures—carefully edited and including notes and introductory material to fully illuminate Foucault’s insights—are a major addition to Foucault’s English language corpus.
This is a critical edition of the text previously published as Fearless Speech, and the Grenoble lecture previously appeared in Critical Inquiry. It’s the English equivalent of Discours et vérité, which appeared in 2016 with Vrin. The Fearless Speech book was unauthorised, and the seminars were transcribed from recordings. They were incomplete and sometimes wrong – this volume is complete, corrected and supplemented by Foucault’s manuscripts. There is also a good amount of critical apparatus.