Michel Foucault's The History of Sexuality, an incisive analysis of the changing nature of desire, represents one of the boldest and most challenging intellectual achievements of recent decades.
The Use of Pleasure (and the two companion volumes) offers an original and controversial account of the emergence of Christianity from the Ancient World. Here Foucault describes the stranger by ways of Greek medicine (with its advice on the healthiest season for sex as well as on exercise and diet), the permitted ways of courting young boys, and the economists' ideas about the role of women. The book is full of extraordinary insights into the differences - and the continuities - between the Ancient, Christian and Modern worlds. But Foucault does far more than merely re-create a vanished era when sex was not a major moral issue (only Plato, like Saint Paul, saw puritanical restraint as the way of wisdom) he makes us rethink our own assumptions about sex.
About the Author
Michel Foucault was born in France in 1926. He served as director at the Institut Fran''ais in Hamburg and the Institut de Philosophie at the Facult'' des Lettres in the University of Clermont-Ferrand. In 1970 he was appointed Professor of History of Systems of Thought at the Coll''ge de France, where he taught for fourteen years. Himself a controversial intellectual presence, his lectures were often radically unconventional. His public life involved militant and courageous campaigning on behalf of prisoners, dissidents and homosexuals.
At the time of his death in 1984, Michel Foucault was without doubt France's most prominent thinker. His profoundly original studies of madness, crime, sexuality and methods of classification influenced disciplines as diverse as history, philosophy, sociology, medical history and literary criticism. He set new agendas for research in political theory, stimulated debates over gender identity, and raised questions about the meaning of truth and reason though the analysis of knowledge and power systems.
His many publications include Madness and Civilisation (1961); The Order of Things (1966); The Archaeology of Knowledge (1972); The Birth of the Clinic (1973); Discipline and Punish (1975) and three volumes of The History of Sexuality (1976, 1984, 1984).