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Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  230 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Because of their range, brilliance, and singularity, the ideas of the philosopher-critic-historian Michel Foucault have gained extraordinary currency throughout the intellectual community. This book offers a selection of seven of Foucault's most important published essays, translated from the French, with an introductory essay and notes by Donald F. Bouchard. Also included ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published 1980 by Cornell University Press (first published 1977)
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Jul 14, 2014 Jonfaith rated it it was ok
Shelves: theory
Genealogy is history in the form of a concerted carnival.

Ever since Madonna Louise Ciccone took it over the border line, I have always felt for the transgressors, the transgressive, the interlopers. Michel Foucault began before I did. He also held the Infinite in esteem. I sigh in response. I would like to make a few points about this collection, this assemblage. I could start by questioning the validity of points or facts. Aren't they just interpretations? Don't such efforts only maintain the p
Feb 27, 2008 Jason rated it really liked it
theory often enters into a certain headspace that i cannot seem to follow...
a great deal of this book is nonsense...the rest is inapplicable hyper-intellectual self-indulgence that borders on the masturbatory...
i'm certain there are those who have derived a profound and deeper understanding of language and culture from this book, i am, unfortunately, not one of them...

i'm re-reading this today for my imminent exam...
i find myself re-confirming my earlier words yet softening on them so
Jared Colley
May 16, 2007 Jared Colley rated it really liked it
This is a must have for anyone interested in Michel Foucault; the book contains some of his best essays dating from the middle part of his career. The absolute essentials are "Nietzsche, Genealogy, & History" and "What is an Author?" - I have resourced these two texts time and time again. However, the hidden gem of this book for me is the published conversation between Foucault & Gilles Deleuze. The interview/conversation functions in way to usefully clarify certain similarities between ...more
Conor Heaney
Feb 27, 2014 Conor Heaney rated it really liked it
Important collection of essays for those wishing to engage with Foucault's work. Separated into three sections:

(1) 'Language and the Birth of Literature' - this section contains essays on Flaubert, transgression, the attempts to reach the (infinite) limits of language, and a review of a Laplanche book. Useful in considering Foucault's approach to literature, to narrative, to thought-as-practice, and language specifically, which he of course addressed separately in The Order of Things.

(2) 'Count
Of continental thinkers worth paying any attention to (that qualifier excludes the vast majority of them, I'd say, although I certainly am a fan of several continentalists), Foucault is the most tiresome. He has interesting, engaging, and important ideas, but is staggeringly obfuscatory. His prose's turgid excess and pretentious, overwrought character is especially grating considering he mentions, by name, some of the clearest philosophers to ever write, including John Searle.

Amazingly, Foucaul
Oct 07, 2008 Mr. rated it really liked it
A remarkable collection of essays and lectures all of which revolve around the subject of language. For Foucault, Discourse represents a context within which power relations exist. The two most noted essays in this collection are 'What is an Author?' and 'Nietzsche, Genealogy, History.'It is in the latter that one can discern the enormous impact that Nietzsche has made on Foucault's archaeological project. He engages in a discussion on the nature of history as it relates to power relations and t ...more
Jan 11, 2011 Jamie rated it really liked it
while the portions on language were helpful in exploring the concept of the limit (and how trangression is part of the limit and vice versa), it was challenging to read most of that section, as it depends on one having read, for instance, Flaubert's The Temptation or Jean Laplanche's Holderlin et la question du père. I found the last two sections on counter-memory and practice more accessible and pertinent for my work on notions of difference, inclusion/exclusion and abjection in education.

Jan 31, 2016 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
The task of genealogy, writes Foucault, is to "expose a body totally imprinted by history and the process of history's destruction of the body." In the essay Nietzsche, Genealogy, History, Foucault expands Nietzsche's concepts about historical meaning and outlines his own ideas about an alternative way of viewing history and knowledge. "Effective" history is one that lacks continuity, constants, unity, or a point of reference. Knowledge isn't objective, it's perspective. Most importantly, histor ...more
Josephine Ensign
Oct 11, 2014 Josephine Ensign rated it really liked it
"Writing so as not to die, as Blanchot said, or perhaps even speaking so as not to die is a task undoubtedly as old as the word. The most fateful decisions are inevitably suspended during the course of a story. We know that discourse has the power to arrest the flight of an arrow in a recess of time, in the space proper to it." From Foucault's essay 'Language to Infinity." That, and his essay 'What is an Author' were my favorites in this collection. 'Fantasia of the Library' gave me a new unders ...more
Leonard Pierce
Nov 16, 2008 Leonard Pierce rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
My first encounter with Foucault in short-essay form, and oddly enough, I fouund him a lot more tolerable this way. It's all still going to depend on how acceptable you find his ideas, but this was a pretty good format for him.
Jul 21, 2008 Mario rated it really liked it
Why fuck with this book?

The essays "What is an Author?" and "Nietzsche, Genealogy, History" retain their salience in challenging easy thinking about shit like identity politics and speaking-truth-to-power....
Nov 12, 2009 Annette marked it as to-read
this dude gave me this book cause he thought a linguistics person would have a better time with it than he did. that was about ten years ago. haven't read it yet.
Jun 10, 2011 sologdin rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
contains the famous author-function article, which should be read, certainly, but really only in context after reviewing barthes' "death of the author," also required reading.
Aug 17, 2012 Lisa added it
very good
Tank Green
Dec 12, 2009 Tank Green rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theory
only reading selected essays from this collection, but my how do i love them.
Oct 28, 2008 Deemeetree rated it it was amazing
A very good introduction to Foucault's ideas.
Jan 26, 2009 Sedika is currently reading it
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Michel Foucault was a French philosopher, social theorist and historian of ideas. He held a chair at the Collège de France with the title "History of Systems of Thought," and lectured at the University at Buffalo and the University of California, Berkeley.

Foucault is best known for his critical studies of social institutions, most notably psychiatry, medicine, the human sciences and the prison sys
More about Michel Foucault...

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“Perhaps [transgression] is like a flash of lightning in the night which, from the beginning of time, gives a dense and black intensity to the night it denies, which lights up the night from the inside, from top to bottom, yet owes to the dark the stark clarity of its manifestation, its harrowing and poised singularity.” 10 likes
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