Madness and Civilization

Madness and Civilization

A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason

Book - 1988
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Michel Foucault examines the archeology 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.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 1988, c1965
ISBN: 9780679721109
Characteristics: xiii, 299 p. ; 21 cm


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Mar 19, 2018

Frenchman Michel Foucault was one of the towering (and polarizing) figures of French theory and criticism that emerged in the 50s and 60s and become deeply influential in literature, philosophy, and other media. I can't say that I really understand him, but he's interesting and provocative. Along with "Discipline and Punishment," which popularized the idea of the Panopticon, and the three-volume "The History of Sexuality," "Madness is Civilization" is his major work and a good place to start. I'd also recommend the recent French novel, "The Seventh Function of Language," in which Foucault, Derrida, and Barthes are characters.


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