History of Sexuality volume II – the three different introductions

HS II 3 introsThere are three versions of the introduction to the History of Sexuality volume II in print.

  1. There is the May 1984 version, which introduced the book itself – L’usage des plaisirs, translated as The Use of Pleasure.
  2. An earlier version was published in November 1983 in Le Débat as “Usage des plaisirs et techniques de soi”.  This is Dits et écrits text 338. There is no published English translation.
  3. A still earlier version appeared in The Foucault Reader in 1984, without a contemporaneous corresponding French publication. It is reprinted with amendments in Ethics and that version is reprinted in The Essential Foucault. This text appears is Dits et écrits text 340.

In what follows HS II is L’usage des plaisirs/The Use of Pleasure; EW I is Ethics; DE IV is volume IV of the 1994 four volume Dits et écrits. I do not have a copy of the later two-volume version of this text, so cannot provide page numbers to that.

Comparison of November 1983 version to May 1984 version

Text 338 is very close to the May 1984 version in The Use of Pleasures, but not entirely the same. The level of changes are ones I can imagine were done at proof stage – a few deleted words, the odd additional clause or short sentence, the addition of a footnote, changes to punctuation, sentences linked or broken etc. There are two exceptions – the concluding paragraph of HS II 21/13, which is markedly different to DE IV, 546; and a paragraph on DE IV, 547-8 which is different from HS II, 23-4/15.

These are the minor issues I noted, aside from simple punctuation issues. The two more significant issues follow, with my translations of variant material. If any changes are missing or wrong please contact me:

  • Sections in DE no 338 become chapters in HS II; numbered paragraphs in DE no 338 become sections in HS II.
  • HS II 14/7: footnote not in DE IV, 542
  • HS II, 15/8: line about François Wahl not in DE IV, 542
  • HS II, 17/9: “j’ai trouve un certain benefice theorique” not in DE IV, 544
  • DE IV, 546: “Mais par «textes prescriptifs», je n’entends pas tout ouvrage de morale” not in HS II, 20/12.
  • HS II, 22/14; DE IV, 547 – punctuation changes to break one sentence in two; and join two sentences.
  • DE IV, 547: “entre hommes et garçons”; HS II, 23/14 “entre hommes”.
  • DE IV, 547: “Or ce n’est guère exact; et on pourrait le montrer facilement. On pourrait le montrer par les jeu des emprunts directs…” HS II, 23/15: “Or ce n’est guère exact; il serait facile de le montrer. On pourrait l’établier en faisant valoir les emprunts directs…”
  • DE IV, 548: “depuis le XVIIe ou le XVIIIIe siècle”; HS II, 24/16 “depuis le XVIIIe siècle”.
  • The last sentence of the note in HS II, 24/16 does not appear in DE IV, 548.
  • DE IV, 548: “Et de cette crainte de l’acte sexuel, des soupçons qu’il est susceptible, s’il déréglé, et s’il entraîne une perte inconsidérée de semence, de produire sur la vie de l’individu les effets les plus nocifs …”; HS II, 25/16 “Et de cette crainte de l’acte sexuel, susceptible, s’il déréglé, de produire sur la vie de l’individu les effets les plus nocifs”.
  • DE 549: “un précepte généralement reçu et accepté”; HS II, 26/17: “un impératif généralement reçu et accepté”.
  • DE 549 n. 2 – the discussion of texts used, Foucault’s use of Greek and Latin terms interpolated in translations, and his thanks to the Bibliothèque du Saulchoir is missing from HS 26 n. 2/255 n. 4.
  • DE 551 “des petits rhéteurs tout parfumés et frisottés”; HS II, 28/19: “des petits rhéteurs parfumés et frisottés”.
  • HS II, 30/20: “comme a été courante l’idée que cette renunciation est capable de donner accès à une experience spirituelle de la vérité et de l’amour que l’activité sexuelle exclurait”; not in DE 551, foot of page.
  • DE IV, 552 ”la beauté complaisante d’Alcibiade”; HS II, 31/20: ”la beauté provocatrice d’Alcibiade”.
  • DE IV, 552: “Des thèmes, des principes, des notions…”; HS II, 31/21: “Plusieurs thèmes, principes, ou notions”.
  • DE IV, 554: “et derrière elle tout le jeu de l’institution familiale… de l’ajustement entre rôles sociaux…”; HS II, 34/23: “dans le jeu de l’institution familiale… et le problème de l’ajustement entre rôles sociaux…”
  • DE IV, 554: “Il y a ainsi tout en recentrement à opérer… il faut chercher à partir de quelle région de l’expérience…”; HS II, 34-5/23: “Il m’a paru ainsi qu’il y avait tout un recentrement à opérer… il fallait chercher à partir de quelles régions de l’expérience …”
  • DE IV, 555: “Plus précisément, il faut se demander pourquoi…”; HS II, 35/24: “Plus précisément, il convenait de se demander pourquoi…”
  • DE IV, 555: “Pourquoi l’insertion ou l’interférence de l’activité sexuelle… Pourquoi les axes de l’expérience”; HS II, 35/24: “Pourquoi l’interférence de l’activité sexuelle… Pourquoi ces axes de l’expérience”.
  • DE IV, 557: “Il y a aussi des différences possibles dans les formes de l’«élaboration» du travail éthique qu’on effectue soi-même…”; HS II, 38/27: “Il y a aussi des différences possibles dans les formes de l’élaboration du travail éthique qu’on effectue soi-même…”
  • DE IV, 557: “…à travers le contrôle régulier de la conduit dans l’exactitude avec laquelle on l’applique …”; HS II, 39/27: “…à travers un contrôle régulier de la conduit destiné à mesurer l’exactitude avec laquelle on l’applique ces règles…”
  • DE IV, 557: “agit sur lui-même”; HS II, 40/28: “il agit sur lui-même”
  • DE IV, 560: “d’une instance chargée d’en surveiller l’application, des châtiments qui sanctionneraient les infractions commises, des conditions et circonstances qui pourraient affecter la valeur d’un acte”; HS II, 43/31: “à la nécessité d’une instance chargée d’en surveiller l’application, à la possibilité de châtiments qui sanctionneraient les infractions commises”.
  • DE IV, 560: “Garder à l’esprit…”; HS II, 43/31: “: garder à l’esprit…”
  • HS II, 44-5/32, paragraph beginning “Dans ce premier volume…” is not in DE text 338.

First significant change

DE IV, 546: “Mais puisque toutes ces études se trouvent au point de croisement d’une analyse des problématisations et d’une histoire des pratiques de soi, je voudrais m’arrêter, avant de commencer sur ces deux notions: justifier les formes de «problématisation» que j’ai retenues, et expliquer ce qu’on peut entendre par «pratiques de soi»”.

“But since all these studies are located at the intersection of an analysis of problematisations and a history of practices of the self, I would like to pause, before beginning, on these two notion: justifying the forms of ‘problematisation’ that I chose to examine, and explaining what is understood by ‘practices of the self’” (Stuart Elden translation).

Here’s how this passage appears in HS II, 21 – red marks additions or replacements

Mais puisque cette analyse de l’homme de désir se trouve au point de croisement d’une archéologie des problématisations et d’une généalogie des pratiques de soi, je voudrais m’arrêter, avant de commencer, sur ces deux notions: justifier les formes de «problématisation» que j’ai retenues, indiquer ce qu’on peut entendre par «pratiques de soi» et expliquer par quelles paradoxes et difficultés j’ai été amené à substituer à une histoire des systems de morale, qui serait faire à partir des interdits, une histoire des problématisations éthiques faite à partir des pratiques de soi.

This is how it appears in the English (p. 13):

“But since this analysis of desiring man is situated at the point where an archaeology of problematizations and a genealogy of practices of the self intersect, I would like to dwell briefly, before getting started, on those two notions—that is, to account for the forms of ‘problematization’ that I chose to examine, to indicate what is to be understood by ‘practices of the self’, and to explain how I was led, though certain paradoxes and difficulties, to substitute a history of ethical problematizations based on practices of the self, for a history of systems of morality based, hypothetically, on interdictions” (Robert Hurley).

This is not bad, though there are a few things I’d change. The key one is the final sentence, where Hurley reverse the two clauses – history of systems of morality vs. history of ethical problematizations. I feel his version makes it hard to see which replaces which, though the French does too. It’s clear from other indications in Foucault’s work. Here’s a lightly revised version, where red marks proposed differences:

But since this analysis of the man of desire is located at the intersection of an archaeology of problematizations and a genealogy of practices of the self, I would like to pause, before beginning, on those two notions—that is, to account for the forms of ‘problematization’ that I chose to examine, to indicate what is to be understood by ‘practices of the self’, and to explain how I was led, though certain paradoxes and difficulties, to replace a history of systems of morality based, hypothetically, on prohibitions, with a history of ethical problematizations based on practices of the self (Stuart Elden translation).

Apart from anything else, this is a good indication of how archaeology and genealogy work together as parts of a complementary approach; where genealogy is introduced as a supplement to archaeology, rather than its replacement, as the secondary literature still frequently suggests.

Second significant change

DE II, 547-8: “Mais on pourrait aussi montrer, au cœur même de la pensée grecque ou gréco-romaine, la presence des themes, des inquiétudes, des exigencies d’austérité que, souvent, on croit propres au christianisme ou même à la morale des sociétés européennes modernes. En voici plusieurs manifestations: une peur, un modèle, une image, un exemple”.

“But we can also show, at the very heart of Greek or Greco-Roman thought, the presence of themes, anxieties and exigencies of austerity which, often, we believe properly Christian or even the morality of modern European societies. Here are multiple examples: a fear, a model, an image, an example” (Stuart Elden translation).

HS II, 23-4: “On y voit déjà une certaine association de l’áctivité sexuelle et du mal, la règle d’une monogamie procréatice, la condemnation des rapports de même sexe, l’exaltation de la continence. Ce n’est pas tout: sur échelle historique bien plus longue, on pourrait suivre la permanence de themes, d’inquiétudes et d’exigencies qui ont sans doute marqué l’éthique  christianisme et la morale des sociétés européennes modernes, mais qui étaient déjà clairement présentes au cœur de la pensée grecque ou gréco-romaine. En voici plusieurs témoignages: l’expression d’une peur, un modèle de comportement, l’image d’une attitude disqualifée, un exemple d’abstinence”.

English p. 15: “One already notes a certain association of sexual activity with evil, along with the rule of procreative monogamy, a condemnation of relations between individuals of the same sex, and a glorification of self-restraint. Furthermore, given a longer historical frame to consider, one could trace the persistence of themes, anxieties and exigencies that no doubt marked the Christian ethic and the morality of modern European societies; but not only, since they were already present at the core of Greek and Greco-Roman thought. Below is some evidence to consider, comprising: (1) the expression of a fear, (2) a model of conduct, (3) the image of a stigmatized attitude, and (4) an example of abstinence” (Robert Hurley translation).

The only things I’d really change here are”same-sex relations” in place of “relations between individuals of the same sex”, which seems an unnecessary expansion of the French; and “but which were already clearly present at the core of Greek and Greco-Roman thought” in place of a clunky “but not only, since they were already…”

Text 340

Richard Lynch’s bibliography of Foucault’s shorter works unhelpfully says “338 1. See 340”, implying 338 can be found in translation in The Foucault Reader, but these are markedly different texts. As Dits et écrits indicates, text 340 is the “première rédaction”, the first draft, of this text. But there are some other interesting clues to its provenance.

  • There is no translator listed in Dits et écrits, even though that is the norm for texts first published in another language. This suggests the editors had access to a French original.
  • The first line of text 340 does not appear in the initial English version (The Foucault Reader), suggesting again that the editors of Dits et écrits had access to a French version, hitherto unpublished. This sentence appears as a note in Ethics. It reads: “This volume appears later than I had expected and in a very different form”. The singular ‘volume’ is telling: compare to “this series of studies” (text 338 and The Use of Pleasure).

There are many things to say of this much shorter text. It provides a very interesting overview of Foucault’s career, situating the work it is introducing in a much longer chronology of work. It makes explicit reference to most of his major works, and also links in what might appear to be side-projects such as those on Pierre Rivière, Alexina B (Herculine Barbin), governmentality and the lettres de cachet. It explicitly mentions the original, thematic plan of the History of Sexuality as “my planned study of chidren, women and ‘perverts’ as sexual subjects” (DE no 340, IV, 583; EW I, 204). It discusses how, instead of examining ‘sexuality’ at the time of its formation, “I tried to analyse the formation of a certain mode of relation to the self in the experience of the flesh” (DE no 340, IV, 584; EW I, 205). That work on the flesh, la chair, was to be examined in the projected volume on Christianity. But in order to study that, Foucault notes that he needed to examine “the period in late antiquity when the principal elements of the Christian ethic of the flesh were being formulated” (DE no 340, IV, 584; EW I, 205).

The volume being introduced is that book, on late antiquity. But here, it is a singular volume, not two volumes (the actually published volumes two and three). We know from Daniel Defert that in March 1983 Foucault completed the draft of a long volume that comprised the entirety of what actually became volumes two and three. This work, under the title of L’usage des plaisirs, was split in two, the second part taking the title of Le souci de soi – confusingly earlier named as the title of a different book, outside the series. The manuscript and related materials are available at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, as Histoire de la sexualité, NAF28284 (2-5).

Text 340 is a fragment of the March 1983 manuscript – there are multiple drafts in the Bibliothèque nationale files. A longer version in French is available at the Bancroft library of University of California, Berkeley, under the misleading title of “Preface and Introduction to ‘Genealogy of Ethics’ with notes”, BANC MSS 90/136z, File 1.13. The 51 page manuscript, which comprises the ‘Preface’ and two parts of an ‘Introduction’ is followed in the folder with handwritten notes for the interviews with Dreyfus and Rabinow.

Text 345 in Dits et écrits, the entry on Foucault from the Dictionnaire des philosophes signed by ‘Maurice Florence’ but written by Foucault, was also part of an early introduction. As the editors’ note explains, Foucault’s assistant François Ewald was asked in the early 1980s to contribute an updated entry for the dictionary, and told Foucault of this request. “At the time, Foucault had written a first draft of Volume II of the History of Sexuality which he knew he would rework. A section of the introduction he had prepared for this work was a retrospective presentation of his work. This was the text given to Denis Huisman, complete with a short introduction and a bibliography” (DE IV, 631). Little of this explanatory note appears in Essential WorksAesthetics, p. 459 n. *

In sum, Lynch’s bibliography really ought to say “338 1. See The Use of Pleasures, with minor variants”. 340 is a significantly different text, much closer to 345. Not only does 340 date from at least six months before text 338, it is the introduction to a different book.

Conclusion

The three texts I listed at the outset appear there in reverse chronological order. Put in the right order

  1. DE text 340; The Foucault Reader – draft from March 1983?
  2. DE text 338; no English translation – version from Le Débat, November 1983.
  3. HS II – final version, May 1984.

Reading the first of these, especially in the improved translation in Ethics, and then the third of these in The Use of Pleasure is instructive. The information here should help with understanding how the second text was lightly edited to become the third, and stand in place of an English translation – the information I’ve provided is essentially the editorial apparatus you’d need to provide a critical edition of the text.

 

(This post is part of the Foucault Resources part of this site, which also includes bibliographies, links to audio and video recordings, some textual comparisons, a few brief translations, and some other pieces.)

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