Michel Foucault, 1926-1984

ISBN: 2080812432
ISBN 13: 9782080812438
By: Didier Eribon

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Reader's Thoughts

Katie Glanz

This is an absolutely compelling book. It does not sensationalize or manipulate (as other biographies on Foucault have) the life-story of a fascinating, brilliant, and radically engaged intellectual.


I read this book years ago. It provides readable and helpful biographical context for Foucault's work. It does not provide much analysis of his ideas. I have been reading it in preparation for a presentation on Foucault. It has always seemed to me that Foucault's ideas were closely related to his personal concerns, especially about being Gay in France of the 1950s, this rereading helps me see the value and limitations of that ad hominem interpretation.

Ted Gideonse

I bought this at a used bookstore a few months ago, and I started reading it a few days ago. Foucault's work is the theoretical linchpin for my work, so I was wondering what made him, well, him. The book is a bit dry, and seems totally focused on his intellectual development. Which is important, but I would have loved some personal stuff. Foucault was a bit nuts and was a big 'mo, so it would be nice to have that stuff, too.


There are, as far as I know, three Foucault biographies available in English. I have read all of them. Eribon’s was the first to appear (I believe) but if memory serves, the least interesting. The Passions of Michel Foucault is the most gossipy (and it still doesn’t really give up that much dirt) and The Lives of Michel Foucault does a better job of giving you a sense of Foucalt’s place in theory/philosophy/whatever. Eribon knew Foucault, and apparently well, but that doesn’t come across in the book at all, what we get instead is a decent, but not the best biography of a man who is still one of my intellectual heroes.

Derek Baldwin

More an extended review of Foucault's works than a true biography. The biographical details are very centred on Foucault's "career" and have little to offer about his personal life. But fascinating nonetheless.

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