Michel Foucault, “Literature and Madness: Madness in the Baroque Theatre and the Theatre of Artaud”, Theory, Culture and Society (requires subscription)
A translation of a piece by Foucault, online first in Theory, Culture and Society – part of the special issue on ‘Foucault before the Collège de France’ I am co-editing with Orazio Irrera and Daniele Lorenzini. The translation is by Nancy Luxon, and the text appeared in French in Critique and then Folie, Langage, Littérature, edited by Henri-Paul Fruchaud, Daniele Lorenzini and Judith Revel, Paris: Vrin, 2019.
Literature and madness dominate Michel Foucault’s early writings in the 1960s, and indeed much of his career. In this text, Foucault considers the relation between madness, language, and silence; the difficult frontier between language and literary convention; and the experience of madness within language. He moves from a meditation on madness, to a rare commentary on theatre, stagecraft, and Artaud, and finishes by considering literature’s capacity for rupture. ‘Literature and Madness’ is a translation of a text written by Foucault in the 1960s, and recently published in Folie, langage, littérature, ed. Henri-Paul Fruchaud, Daniele Lorenzini and Judith Revel (Paris: Vrin, 2019, 89–109). This version includes a translator’s introduction by Nancy Luxon and was given a distinct subtitle to distinguish it from a similar lecture with the same title in that volume.
The other papers so far available from this issue are listed here, along with some video abstracts. Some of the papers are available open access, others require subscription.