Madness and Civilization

Madness and Civilization

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In this classic account of madness, Michel Foucault shows once and for all why he is one of the most distinguished European philosophers since the end of World War II. Madness and Civilization, Foucault's first book and his finest accomplishment, will change the way in which you think about society. Evoking shock, pity and fascination, it might also make you question the way you think about yourself.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 28mm | 358.34g
  • Taylor & Francis Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised
  • 2nd Revised edition
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0415253853
  • 9780415253857
  • 31,589

Review quote

'Michel Foucault's Madness and Civilization has been, without a shadow of a doubt, the most original, influential, and controversial text in this field during the last forty years. It remains as challenging now as on first publication.' - Roy Porter

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Table of contents

Introduction by David Cooper, Preface 1."Stultifera Navis" 2.The Great Confinement 3.The Insane 4.Passion and Delirium 5. Aspects of Madness 6.Doctors and Patients 7.The Great Fear 8.The New Division 9.The Birth of the Asylum, Conclusion, Notes

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About Michel Foucault

Michel Foucault (1926-1984) Celebrated French thinker and activist who challenged people's assumptions about care of the mentally ill, gay rights, prisons, the police and welfare.

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Review Text

Michel Foucault's history of madness during the classical age - the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries - is far too esoteric for the general reader. Foucault, cutting himself off entirely from the structure of modern psychiatry, recreates the theories, the treatment, and the vocabulary of folly, unreason, and insanity as they existed in Europe throughout the Middle Ages until the Age of Reason. He considers two events as milestones: the creation of the Hospital General in 1657, and the great confinement of the poor of 1794, the former indicative of a body of thought which considered man's dispute with madness a significant confrontation with secret powers, the latter presaging our modern attitudes involving isolation and refusal to communicate. Monsieur Foucault concludes: "The world that thought to measure and justify madness through psychology must justify itself by the excess of works like those of Nietzsche, of Van Gogh, of Artaud. And nothing in itself, especially no what it can know of madness, assures the world that such works of madness justify it." Madness & Civilization is to psychiatry what Mimesis is to literature. (Kirkus Reviews)

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