Michel Foucault Alan Sheridan - Essay

Alan Sheridan

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Foucault begins where all truly original minds begin, in the present. Such minds are not ahead of their times; it is the rest of us who are dragging our feet. His passion is to seek out the new, that which is coming to birth in the present—a present that most of us are unable to see because we see it through the eyes of the past, or through the eyes of a 'future' that is a projection of the past, which amounts to the same thing. Foucault's interest in the past is guided by that passion: there is nothing of the antiquarian about it. 'Why am I writing this history of the prison?', he asks in Surveiller et punir. 'Simply because I am interested in the past? No, if one means by that writing a history of the past...

(The entire section is 2664 words.)