Foucault’s History of Madness – a bibliographical chronology

HF-HM editions.jpeg

1961 original, 1964 reprint, 1964 abridgement, 1972 edition, 1976 edition, Madness and Civilization and History of Madness

There are persistent confusions about the publishing history of Foucault’s History of Madness. I thought this had long been cleared up, but I’ve read books and articles published in the past few years which make some of the same mistakes again. So, here is the bibliographical chronology, which I believe to be both accurate and complete. Comments welcome of course.

French Editions

Folie et déraison: Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique, Paris: Plon, 1961 – a version printed in advance of thesis defence, with different cover. Although not pictured above, I have seen a copy of this: it is exactly the same as the next version in this list, except for the title page, cover and endpapers.

Folie et déraison: Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique, Paris: Plon, 1961. The preface is dated ‘Hamburg, 5 February 1960’.

Folie et déraison: Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique, Paris: Plon, 1964. Reprint of 1961 edition, unchanged except for the date.

Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique, Paris: Union générale d’éditions 10/18, 1964 (and subsequent reprints). This is a heavily abridged version, issued in a much cheaper ‘pocket’ series.

Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique, suivi de Mon corps, ce papier, ce feu et La folie, l’absence d’œuvre, Paris: Gallimard, 1972. The main text is the same as the 1961 edition, but with a new preface in place of the original one; and with two essays added as appendices. It is also missing a note on Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustrain the final chapter.

Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique, Paris: Gallimard Tel, 1976. This is the same as the 1972 version except without the two appendices. The preface is the 1972 one, not the 1961 version. This version has gone through multiple reprints with different covers and is the only French version still in print in a separate edition. It is the most common one found second-hand, even though the date in listings is often given as 1972 or even 1961.

The 1961 preface and the two 1972 additional essays are included in the collection Dits et écrits.

The 1972 edition, with the two appendices, is the version included in Oeuvres in the Pléiade series. The 1961 preface is included after the second appendix. The notes by Jean-François Bert are helpful.

English Translations

Madness and Civilization: A History of Madness in the Classical Age, translated by Richard Howard, London: Tavistock, 1965; reissued by Routledge. This is based on the 1964 UGE 10/18 edition, with the addition of the chapter ‘Passion and Delirium’ and some other parts from the 1961 text. Multiple reeditions, and still in print.

History of Madness, translated by Jean Khalfa and Jonathan Murphy, New York: Routledge, 2006. This includes the complete 1961 text, the 1972 preface, and the two essays added as appendices in 1972. It is therefore a complete edition.

Three remarks:

Madness and Civilization is frequently described as an ‘abridged translation’. It would be more accurate to describe it as a ‘translation of an abridgement’.

Foucault made the abridgement himself, with a view to a wider audience. The process of abridgement is itself interesting. But the 10/18 version is not a scholarly edition: as well as being much shorter, it loses most of the notes. Serious scholarly work on the book should refer to either the complete French text and/or the complete English translation.

The title Madness and Civilisation should only ever be used to refer to the English text – the phrase is not a translation of the title of any French edition, which would be Madness and Unreason in the original edition, and History of Madness in 1972 and later.

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