Mark D. Jordan, In Search of Foucault’s Last Words (2022)

An interesting review of the English translation Confessions of the Flesh

Foucault News

Mark D. Jordan, In Search of Foucault’s Last Words, Boston Review, 19 January 2022

Review: Confessions of the Flesh (The History of Sexuality 4)
Michel Foucault, edited by Frederic Gros and translated by Robert Hurley
Vintage, $17 (paper)

When Foucault died from complications of AIDS, he left the series entitled History of Sexuality at least one volume shy of completion. For decades since, ardent readers of Foucault have fantasized that they would receive an “answer” from the sky once they could read the unpublished book, Confessions of the Flesh. Sometimes, I joined them. Now it has been published, in both French and English, and they—we—have in our hands as much as Foucault wrote of what might have been. Is this stitched-together volume an “answer” from the sky? Was shouting Foucault’s name a question?

The book has traveled a winding road to publication. In 1976, on the back…

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3 Responses to Mark D. Jordan, In Search of Foucault’s Last Words (2022)

  1. dmf says:

    “Foucault may seem to be writing a history that will finally uncover the sexual enigma at the human core. But he is actually telling a fantastical satire about a society that devotes whole centuries to scrutinizing an enigma of its own invention.” i
    s this in keeping with your own reading?

    • stuartelden says:

      Not really – I don’t think he’s trying to uncover some deep truth, but nor do I think it is satirical. I reviewed the French edition of this text back in 2018, but haven’t yet read the English translation. I was more interested and concerned by Jordan’s comments about the references and partial rewriting in the translation.

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