By Michel Foucault

During this vintage account of insanity, Michel Foucault exhibits as soon as and for all why he's probably the most individual eu philosophers because the finish of worldwide conflict II. insanity and Civilization, Foucault's first ebook and his most interesting accomplishment, will swap the way you consider society. Evoking surprise, pity and fascination, it can additionally make you query how you take into consideration your self.

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Additional info for Madness and Civilization (Routledge Classics)

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Let us begin with the most important, and the most du-rable-since the eighteenth century will still recognize its only just erased forms: madness by romantic identification.

Fascinating as Renaissance men found it- they painted it, praised it, sang about it-it also heralded for them death of the body by picturing death of the mind. Nothing is more illuminating than to follow with M. Foucault the many threads which are woven in this com-plex book, whether it speaks of changing symptoms, com-mitment procedures, or treatment. For example: he sees a definite connection between some of the attitudes toward madness and the disappearance, between 1200 and 1400, of leprosy.

It is knowledge, first, because all these absurd figures are in reality elements of a difficult, hermetic, esoteric learning. " This knowledge, so inaccessible, so formidable, the Fool, in his innocent idiocy, already possesses. While the man of reason and wisdom perceives only fragmentary and all the more unnerving images of it, the Fool bears it intact as an unbroken sphere: that crystal ball which for all others is empty is in his eyes filled with the density of an invisible knowledge. Brueghel mocks the sick man who tries to penetrate this crystal sphere, but it is this iridescent bubble of knowledge-an absurd but infinitely precious lantern-that sways at the end of the stick Dulle Griet bears on her shoulder.

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