Edmund White

Edmund White on Foucault:

Foucault could speak English wonderfully well, but his success with the language was a sustained performance demanding complete concentration, the sort of intensity that made his seminars in the States so exhilarating (and exhausting).

I’d attend a seminar at New York University in 1982 and I remembered how much Foucault had had to rely on written notes and words precisely produced by a mouth glittering with silver fillings, as though the metal helped him to chew out the difficult foreign words.

Two months later Foucault was dead. An article on the front page of Libération denied that he’d died of AIDS, as though it would be a calumny against France’s leading philosophy to suggest he’d succumb to such an ignominious disease. Only very slowly did the truth emerge…

Edmund White, 1998, The Farewell Symphony, p. 383.

In fact, according to Defert’s chronologie, Foucault was actually in New York in November 1980 to talk on Sexuality and Solitude (DE 295). Following this he gave his Dartmouth talks (available in Carrette’s book).

In 1982 he was in North America twice. In May-June in Toronto, he gave a seminar on “Dire vrai sur soi-même” and where he was interviewed by Stephen Riggins (DE 336) and by Gallagher and Wilson (DE 358).

In October-November he attended the University of Vermont for the “Technologies of the Self” course.

Defert records the dinner party above as 6 April, 1984. “Ca sera la dernière.”

2 Responses

  1. thanx for the comments, jeremy

  2. […] ontology” is supposed to be) you might want to know more about him than whatever Edmund White said of him in a couple of […]

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