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Speech Begins after Death

Speech Begins after Death

Michel Foucault
In Conversation with Claude Bonnefoy
Edited by Philippe Artières
Translated by Robert Bononno
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 96
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  • Book Info
    Speech Begins after Death
    Book Description:

    In 1968, Michel Foucault agreed to a series of interviews with critic Claude Bonnefoy, which were to be published in book form. Bonnefoy wanted a dialogue with Foucault about his relationship to writing rather than about the content of his books. The project was abandoned, but a transcript of the initial interview survived and is now being published for the first time in English. In this brief and lively exchange, Foucault reflects on how he approached the written word throughout his life, from his school days to his discovery of the pleasure of writing. Wide ranging, characteristically insightful, and unexpectedly autobiographical, the discussion is revelatory of Foucault's intellectual development, his aims as a writer, his clinical methodology ("let's say I'm a diagnostician"), and his interest in other authors, including Raymond Roussel and Antonin Artaud. Foucault discloses, in ways he never had previously, details about his home life, his family history, and the profound sense of obligation he feels to the act of writing. In his Introduction, Philippe Artières investigates Foucault's engagement in various forms of oral discourse-lectures, speeches, debates, press conferences, and interviews-and their place in his work. Speech Begins after Death shows Foucault adopting a new language, an innovative autobiographical communication that is neither conversation nor monologue, and is one of his most personal statements about his life and writing.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8712-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Philosophy

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Editor’s Note
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. INTRODUCTION: Foucault and Audiography
    (pp. 1-22)

    In considering the reception of Foucault’s thought, several events have occurred that, to a lesser extent than in the case of Louis Althusser and the publication of The Future Lasts a Long Time,¹ have permanently altered the way in which we read Foucault and, more generally, respond to his ideas. For one thing, the publication in 1995 of the several volumes of The Essential Works of Foucault 1954–1984² revealed an oral Foucault. Now, readers had access to a complete collection of his statements, gathered from previous publications, which he had prepared for conferences, interviews, and other public events. This...

    (pp. 23-82)

    Claude Bonnefoy: During these interviews, Michel Foucault, I don’t want to ask you to repeat differently what you’ve expressed so well in your books or comment on them one more time. I would prefer that these interviews position themselves, if not entirely, then to a great extent, on the margin of your books, that they provide a way for us to reveal the hidden pattern, their secret texture. What I’m principally interested in is your relationship to writing. But there is already something paradoxical about this. We’re supposed to be talking, and I’m asking you about writing. But I have...

    (pp. 83-84)
  7. Back Matter
    (pp. 85-86)