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.
Subjects: Language & Literature, Philosophy
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