Stuart Elden, Power, Nietzsche and the Greeks: Foucault’s Leçons sur la volonté de savoir, Berfrois, Intellectual Jousting in the Republic of Letters
The most recently published lecture course from Michel Foucault’s time at the Collège de France is his first, entitled ‘La Volonté de Savoir’—the will to know or the will to knowledge. To avoid confusion with the first volume of his History of Sexuality, which reused the title, the editor, Daniel Defert, has chosen Leçons sur la volonté de savoir as this volume’s title. The addition of ‘lectures on…’ is appropriate, as this volume includes two pieces not originally delivered in Paris: a lecture on Nietzsche from later that year, to make up for a missing lecture from the Paris transcript, and a manuscript on Oedipus that served as the basis for lectures in the Americas over the next couple of years, developing themes from the course. Unlike the other courses published to date, this volume is based almost entirely on Foucault’s manuscript for the course, rather than transcribed from tape recordings of the actual delivery. Defert has done exemplary work in making these texts available, and supplemented them with useful notes and an essay contextualizing the course. An English translation is forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan by Graham Burchell, but is unlikely to be out before 2013.
For links to comments on this review see Stuart Elden’s blog