Stuart Elden Foucault’s Last Decade – Update 20

Stuart has an update to his next book. These are always fascinating to read. Not many authors I know of post so frequently about work in progress. Here’s an excerpt:

One thing that the University of Melbourne has, which is useful for this work, is all ten volumes of Claude Mauriac’s memoirs, Le temps immobile. Mauriac was a close friend of Foucault’s for many years, and his memoirs are a non-linear, loosely thematic set of excerpts from his journal. David Macey and Didier Eribon make quite a bit of use of them in their biographies of Foucault, and so there were a few citations I wanted to check. But Clare O’Farrell encouraged me to “well and truly scour” them, which I have been doing. Entries are dated, and there is a decent index, so I was able to skim over parts outside the period I’m concerned with – he kept journals for nearly sixty years. Even so, each volume is around 500-600 pages, so this is a lot of work, but they include some very interesting anecdotal information and some useful insights. I also worked through the recently-reissued book by Thierry Voeltzel, Vingt ans et après, which is a set of interviews, initially anonymous but which we now know to be with Foucault, and is very revealing. I then re-read the Miller, Macey and Eribon bibliographies and was struck how Macey especially was able to fill in detail about the courses on the basis of what was then pretty scant evidence.

Obviously a lot of very thorough work going into this. Making it hard for reviewers of the eventual book!

Foucault’s Last Decade – Update 20.