Michel Foucault, Confessions of the Flesh: History of Sexuality Volume IV, translated by Robert Hurley, edited by Frédéric Gros – Penguin January 2021
Long awaited news of the English translation of this text, first published in French in early 2018.
Brought to light at last–the fourth volume in the famous History of Sexuality series by one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century, his final work, which he had completed, but not yet published, upon his death in 1984
Michel Foucault’s philosophy has made an indelible impact on Western thought, and his History of Sexuality series–which traces cultural and intellectual notions of sexuality, arguing that it is profoundly shaped by the power structures applied to it–is one of his most influential works. At the time of his death in 1984, he had completed–but not yet edited or published–the fourth volume, which posits that the origins of totalitarian self-surveillance began with the Christian practice of confession. This is a text both sweeping and deeply personal, as Foucault–born into a French Catholic family–undoubtedly wrestled with these issues himself. Since he had stipulated “Pas de publication posthume,” this text has long been secreted away. However, the sale of the Foucault archives in 2013–which made this text available to scholars–prompted his nephew to seek wider publication. This attitude was shared by Foucault’s longtime partner, Daniel Defert, who said, “What is this privilege given to Ph.D students? I have adopted this principle: It is either everybody or nobody.”