Michel Foucault R. D. Laing - Essay

R. D. Laing

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Madness and Civilization] is a work of such distinction that it takes some time to accustom one's self to its sustained intensity and verbal momentum, before one can begin to come to terms with the measure of its truth, as total picture or in terms of its constituent elements.

Foucault's overall plan is to excavate the sane perception of madness (la folie) of the 17th and 18th century in Europe, and France in particular. He lays before us the archaeology, as he puts it, of the broken dialogue between reason and unreason: he reveals by a phenomenological method the history of how the theoretical, experiential and practical connotations of madness (as error, blindness, animal innocence...

(The entire section is 949 words.)