The Archaeology of Madness: Two Books by Michel Foucault

Today, we have two books written by the French philosopher Michel Foucault. The first, Madness and Civilization, is an abridged version of the second, The History of Madness .

In the book Madness and Civilization, Michel Foucault examines the archaeology of madness in the West from 1500 to 1800 – from the late Middle Ages.

The History of Madness is an inspiring and classic work that challenges us to understand madness, reason and power and the forces that shape them.


Narrenschiff_(1549)

Narrenschiff (1549)

The ship of fools, depicted in a 1549 German woodcut. Philosopher Michel Foucault cited the Ship of Fools metaphor at length in his books Madness and Civilization. and The History of Madness .


Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason: Michel Foucault

Vintage, November 1988
320 pages
$90.00

Michel Foucault examines the archaeology of madness in the West from 1500 to 1800 – from the late Middle Ages, when insanity was still considered part of everyday life and fools and lunatics walked the streets freely, to the time when such people began to be considered a threat, asylums were first built, and walls were erected between the “insane” and the rest of humanity. – Amazon

FREE PDF:

Click to access Foucault_Michel_Madness_and_Civilization_A_History_of_Insanity_in_the_Age_of_Reason.pdf


History of Madness: Michel Foucault, Jean Khalfa, Jonathan Murphy

Routledge, August 2006
768 pages
$75.69

When it was first published in France in 1961 as Folie et Déraison: Histoire de la Folie à l’âge Classique, few had heard of a thirty-four year old philosopher by the name of Michel Foucault. By the time an abridged English edition was published in 1967 as Madness and Civilization, Michel Foucault had shaken the intellectual world.

This translation is the first English edition of the complete French texts of the first and second edition, including all prefaces and appendices, some of them unavailable in the existing French edition.

History of Madness begins in the Middle Ages with vivid descriptions of the exclusion and confinement of lepers. Why, Foucault asks, when the leper houses were emptied at the end of the Middle Ages, were they turned into places of confinement for the mad? Why, within the space of several months in 1656, was one out of every hundred people in Paris confined?

Shifting brilliantly from Descartes and early Enlightenment thought to the founding of the Hôpital Général in Paris and the work of early psychiatrists Philippe Pinel and Samuel Tuke, Foucault focuses throughout, not only on scientific and medical analyses of madness, but also on the philosophical and cultural values attached to the mad. He also urges us to recognize the creative and liberating forces that madness represents, brilliantly drawing on examples from Goya, Nietzsche, Van Gogh and Artaud.

The History of Madness is an inspiring and classic work that challenges us to understand madness, reason and power and the forces that shape them. – Amazon

FREE PDF:

Click to access history_of_madness_foucault.pdf

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