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Stuart Elden's book The Early Foucault published

Stuart Elden's book The Early Foucault has been published by Polity Press.

The Early Foucault by Stuart Elden, front coverIt was not until 1961 that Foucault published his first major book, History of Madness. He had already been working as an academic for a decade, teaching in Lille and Paris, writing, organizing cultural programmes and lecturing in Uppsala, Warsaw and Hamburg. Although he published little in this period, Foucault wrote much more, some of which has been preserved and only recently become available to researchers. Drawing on archives in France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and the USA, this is the most detailed study yet of Foucault’s early career. It recounts his debt to teachers including Louis Althusser, Jean Hyppolite, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Jean Wahl; his diploma thesis on Hegel; and his early teaching career. It explores his initial encounters with Georges Canguilhem, Jacques Lacan, and Georges Dumézil, and analyses his sustained reading of Friedrich Nietzsche, Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. Also included are detailed discussions of his translations of Ludwig Binswanger, Victor von Weizsäcker, and Immanuel Kant; his clinical work with Georges and Jacqueline Verdeaux; and his cultural work outside of France.Investigating how Foucault came to write History of Madness, Stuart Elden shows this great thinker’s deep engagement with phenomenology, anthropology and psychology. An outstanding, meticulous work of intellectual history, The Early Foucault sheds new light on the formation of a major twentieth-century figure.

This is the third of a series of books tracing the intellectual history of Foucault's entire career. Foucault's Last Decade was published in 2016 and Foucault: The Birth of Power in 2017. Stuart is currently researching the final book in the series on Foucault's work in the 1960s which he hopes to complete in 2022.

There is a post about the research and writing of the book on the Polity blog and a lot more detail on Stuart's website.