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Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason

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Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason Cover

ISBN13: 9780679721109
ISBN10: 067972110x
Condition: Standard
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Staff Pick

When I was immersed in a sea of literary criticism a few years ago, Foucault, more than anyone else, caught my attention. Looking deeply at the roots of our behavior and our cultural attitudes, his examination of different kinds of power and control is more than just fascinating — it's extremely important in understanding how we might move our society forward. Madness and Civilization focuses, as the title implies, on the ways that insanity is constructed by culture, but it might not be what you'd expect. It is primarily a history and an exploration, rich in imagery and metaphor, and as such, it is intense, beautiful, and engaging. (I lent this book to a friend of mine, a medical student who reads very little nonfiction outside of class. He couldn't put it down.) From the original connection of madness to divinity, through the centuries of tighter and tighter control of the poor and eccentric as well as the catatonic, Foucault traces our reactions to madness and the impulses that guide them up until very recent times.
Recommended by Jill Owens, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

What does it mean to be mad? In Madness and Civilization, perhaps his masterpiece, Michel Foucault examines the archaeology of madness in the West from 1500 to 1800 — from the Middle Ages, when insanity was considered part of everyday life and fools and crazies walked the streets freely, to the time when such people began to be considered a threat, asylums were first built, and a wall was erected between the "insane" and the rest of humanity.

Review:

"Foucault's book belongs, both by reason of its content and its profundity, in the class of such treatises — at once historical, scientific, and ethical — as Norman O. Brown's Life Against Death." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Superb scholarship rendered with artistry."
-- The Nation

Synopsis:

US

About the Author

One of the leading intellectuals of the twentieth century and the most prominent thinker in post-war France, Foucault's work influenced disciplines as diverse as history, sociology, philosophy, sociology and literary criticism.

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A.K. Strong, May 30, 2007 (view all comments by A.K. Strong)
Truly a work of art in itself, Foucualt's work is a gripping tale of the progress of societal impressions on the insane over time, and how madness has evolved from being a "mark from God" of the ancient times, to "something that needs to be cured" of modern science and medicine, and the effects it has thus on the diagnosed. Foucault's student, Jacques Derrida's biting critique of this work is surely a good pair for anyone interested in a good debate.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780679721109
Subtitle:
A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason
Author:
Foucault, Michel
Publisher:
Vintage
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Modern
Subject:
Psychiatry
Subject:
Europe - General
Subject:
Mental Illness
Subject:
Insanity
Subject:
History & Surveys - Modern
Subject:
History
Subject:
Psychiatry -- History.
Subject:
Philosophy : General
Subject:
philosophy;history;psychology;theory;sociology;madness;non-fiction;mental illness;foucault;insanity;critical theory;psychiatry;poststructuralism;cultural studies;social theory;medicine;postmodernism;mental health;french;20th century;france;cultural histor
Copyright:
Edition Number:
Vintage Books ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage
Series Volume:
no. 28
Publication Date:
19881128
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.06x5.24x.61 in. .58 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » History and Politics
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Schizophrenia and Psychotic Disorders
History and Social Science » World History » European History General
Humanities » Philosophy » General

Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason Used Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780679721109 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

When I was immersed in a sea of literary criticism a few years ago, Foucault, more than anyone else, caught my attention. Looking deeply at the roots of our behavior and our cultural attitudes, his examination of different kinds of power and control is more than just fascinating — it's extremely important in understanding how we might move our society forward. Madness and Civilization focuses, as the title implies, on the ways that insanity is constructed by culture, but it might not be what you'd expect. It is primarily a history and an exploration, rich in imagery and metaphor, and as such, it is intense, beautiful, and engaging. (I lent this book to a friend of mine, a medical student who reads very little nonfiction outside of class. He couldn't put it down.) From the original connection of madness to divinity, through the centuries of tighter and tighter control of the poor and eccentric as well as the catatonic, Foucault traces our reactions to madness and the impulses that guide them up until very recent times.

"Review" by , "Foucault's book belongs, both by reason of its content and its profundity, in the class of such treatises — at once historical, scientific, and ethical — as Norman O. Brown's Life Against Death."
"Review" by , "Superb scholarship rendered with artistry."
--
"Synopsis" by , US
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