The New Foucault Volume has arrived.

A check through recent posts will show that I ordered Mal faire, dire vrai. Fonction de l’aveu en justice Doing bad, telling the truth. The function of the confession in justice), lectures Foucault gave in Louvain in 1981, directly from the publisher Presses universitaires de louvain after finding that Amazon France was selling it at € 75 though the publisher’s price is € 3o, and that Amazon UK describes the volume as unavailable.

Today I picked the book up from my departmental pigeon hole and I have a quick look through it. I should be able to give a more detailed appraisal before long.  The volume will be published by the University of Chicago Press in December of 2013.  The French edition, prepared by Fabienne Brion and Bernard E. Harcourt, was produced through collaboration between the University of Chicago and the Law Faculty at Louvain, so the front cover shows the imprint of both the University of Chicago Press and UPL.

The edition has been prepared according to the way in which Gallimard present Foucault’s lectures at the Collège de France, a series of volumes which has still yet to finish.   Foucault’s literary executors, Daniel Defert (Foucault’s companion) and François Ewald (Foucault’s assistant) who established the Gallimard series were consulted on this volume.

Roughly speaking the volume brings together Foucault’s concerns with modern criminal justice and punishment (particularly in Discipline and Punish) with his interests in the role of the self and of speech in antiquity from Homer to the Christian thought of late antiquity.  It looks like Foucault establishes connections between: confession as a Catholic ritual, the philosophical and theological aspects of confession, Christian penitence, antique ideas of truth as an ethical-political issues and as an issue of knowledge, the role of confession in modern legal codes and court practices.  The role of the self in this context is linked with Descartes and Locke, then Freud and Schopenhauer.   The discussion of pre-Christian ideas of truth seems to include a lot of discussion of Greek literature along with some discussion of Stoicism.

More in a few days, but this is clearly highly necessary reading for all those with a serious interest in Foucault.

 

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