Foucault is one of those rare philosophers who has become a cult figure. Born in 1926 in France, over the course of his life he dabbled in drugs, politics, and the Paris SM scene, all whilst striving to understand the deep concepts of identity, knowledge, and power. From aesthetics to the penal system; from madness and civilisation to avant-garde literature, Foucault was happy to reject old models of thinking and replace them with versions
that are still widely debated today. A major influence on Queer Theory and gender studies (he was openly gay and died of an AIDS-related illness in 1984), he also wrote on architecture, history, law,
medicine, literature, politics and of course philosophy, and even managed a best-seller in France on a book dedicated to the history of systems of thought. Because of the complexity of his arguments, people trying to come to terms with his work have desperately sought introductory material that makes his theories clear and accessible for the beginner. Ideally suited for the Very Short Introductions series, Gary Gutting presents a comprehensive but non-systematic
treatment of some highlights of Foucault's life and thought. Beginning with a brief biography to set the social and political stage, he then tackles Foucault's thoughts on literature, in particular the
avant-garde scene; his philosophical and historical work; his treatment of knowledge and power in modern society; and his thoughts on sexuality. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and
challenging topics highly readable.
`Review from previous edition 'I can think of nobody in the English speaking world better placed to write a VSI on Foucault than Gary Gutting.''
Simon Critchley (Essex University), author of A Very Short Introduction to Continental Philosophy, on the proposal
`'A first-rate introduction to the work of this difficult thinker, which navigates the complexity of his thought with confidence and clarity''
Professor Todd May, Clemson University, South Carolina
1: Lives and Works
6: The Masked Philosopher
8: Crime and Punishment
9: Modern Sex
10: Ancient Sex