Get Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age PDF

By Michel Foucault

Probably the French philosopher's masterpiece, that is focused on a rare query: What does it suggest to be mad?

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

Sample text

The elements are now reversed. It is no longer the end of time and of the world which will show retrospectively that men were mad not to have been prepared for them; it is the tide of madness, its secret invasion, that shows that the world is near its final catastrophe; it is man's insanity that invokes and makes necessary the world's end. In its various forms—plastic or literary—this experience of madness seems extremely coherent. Painting and text constantly refer to one another—commentary here and illustration there.

He inherits the old Philautia of Erasmus. Poor, he is rich; ugly, he admires himself; with chains still on his feet, he takes himself for God. 9 Such is the ridiculous fate of the seven characters of Desmarets de Saint-Sorlin's Les Vision(29) naires, of Chateaufort in Cyrano de Bergerac's Le Pedant joue, of M. de Richesource in Sir Politik. Measureless madness, which has as many faces as the world has characters, ambitions, and necessary illusions. Even in its extremities, this is the least extreme of madnesses; it is, in the heart of every man, the imaginary relation he maintains with himself.

They continued to multiply in the eighteenth century; Leipzig first in 1701, then Halle and Cassel in 1717 and 1720, later Brieg and Osnabruck (1756), and finally Torgau in 1771. In England the origins of confinement are more remote. An act of 1575 covering both "the punishment of vagabonds and the relief of the poor" prescribed the construction of houses of correction, to number at least one per county. Their upkeep was to be assured by a tax, but the public was encouraged to make voluntary donations.

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


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