Foucault: Lecture 16, 18 March 1986

Listed in Datasets publication by group The Deleuze Seminars

By Gilles Deleuze

Lecture given by French philosopher Gilles Deleuze at the University of Paris 8, 18 March 1986. This is lecture 16 of a 25-lecture seminar Deleuze taught between October 1985 and May 1986.

Version 1.0 - published on 27 Mar 2018 doi:10.4231/R71V5C6Q - cite this Archived on 27 Apr 2018

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The Deleuze Seminars is a collection of audio recordings, transcriptions, and English translations of, and supplemental materials from, the lectures French philosopher Gilles Deleuze gave during his career at the University of Paris 8.

"Foucault" was a 25-lecture seminar given from October 1985 to May 1986. In these lectures, Deleuze offers his interpretation and analysis of French philosopher Michel Foucault's work. Examining the theoretical foundations and major themes of Foucault's philosophy, Deleuze dedicates several lectures to each of what he calls the "three axes" of Foucault's thought. This seminar coincides with the publication of Deleuze's book Foucault (1986).

In the 18 March 1986 lecture, topics of discussion include: the succession of three forms: ‘God’ (seventeenth to eighteenth centuries), ‘Man’ (eighteenth to nineteenth centuries), ‘Übermensch’ (Surhomme, end of the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries); the geological movements of thought; the fold, the unfolding of things, and the superfold (surpli); the theme of the death of man, and the disappearance of the form 'Man'; that every form is a composite of the relations of forces; the forces in humans in relation with the forces of elevation to the infinite; the nature of humans, the orders of infinities, thought in the seventeenth century, and cosmological proofs of the existence of God; the German philosopher and theologian Nicholas of Cusa; that to think is to fold; Cuvier and life; that the form 'Man' envelops the death (of the form) of Man; Nietzsche; Feuerbach's The Essence of Christianity; the form 'Übermensch'; Bichat, animal life, the pluralism of violent deaths, and his book Physiological Research on Life and Death (Recherches physiologiques sur la vie et la mort); the precariousness of the form 'Man'; Foucault, language, and The Order of Things (Les mots et les choses); the form 'Man' and the power of gathering (rassemblement) language in the act of writing; the being of language; the anonymous murmur; the perpetual return of language to itself; the superfold of language, the Übermensch, and the books of Mallarmé; the 'cut up' (simple form) and the 'fold in' (the folding on oneself, or the superfold); Roussel and the infinite flight of parentheses; the creation of syntax; the French poet and essayist Charles Péguy; the French writer and physician Louis-Ferdinand Céline; the limits of language; and modern literature as an operation towards an invention of syntax.

This dataset includes: five mp3 recordings of the lecture (total time, 2:36:33), an aggregate version of the audio recordings into a single mp3, and the complete French transcription of the recorded lecture in both pdf (31 pp) and plain text.


Les Séminaires de Deleuze sont une collection d'enregistrements audio, de transcriptions et de traductions en anglais et de documents complémentaires des conférences que le philosophe français Gilles Deleuze a donné lors de sa carrière à l'Université de Paris 8.

«Foucault» était un séminaire de 25 conférences donné d'octobre 1985 à mai 1986. Dans ces conférences, Deleuze offre son interprétation et son analyse de l’œuvre du philosophe français Michel Foucault. En examinant les fondements théoriques et les thèmes majeurs de la philosophie de Foucault, Deleuze consacre plusieurs conférences à chacun de ce qu'il appelle les «trois axes» de la pensée de Foucault. Ce séminaire coïncide avec la publication du livre de Deleuze Foucault (1986).

Dans la conférence du 18 mars 1986, les sujets de discussion comprennent: la succession de trois formes: Dieu (XVIIe-XVIIIe siècles), Homme (XVIIIe-XIXe siècles), Surhomme (fin du XIXe, XXe et XXIe siècles); les mouvements géologiques de la pensée; le pli et le dépli des choses et le surpli; le thème de la mort de l'Homme et la disparition de la forme Homme; que toute forme est un composé des rapports de forces; les forces dans l'Homme en rapport avec les forces d'élévation à l'infini; de la nature des humains, les ordres des infinités, la pensée au XVIIe siècle, et les preuves cosmologiques de l'existence de Dieu; le philosophe et théologien allemand Nicolas de Cues; penser c'est plier; Cuvier et la vie; que la forme Homme enveloppe la mort (de la forme) de l'Homme; Nietzsche; L'Essence du Christianisme de Feuerbach; la forme Surhomme; Bichat, la vie animale, le pluralisme des morts violentes, et son livre Recherches physiologiques sur la vie et la mort; la précarité de la forme Homme; Foucault, le langage et Les mots et les choses; la forme Homme et la puissance de rassemblement le langage dans l'acte d'écrire; l'être du langage; le murmure anonyme; le retour perpétuel du langage à lui-même; le surpli du langage, le Surhomme, et les livres de Mallarmé; le cut up (forme simple) et le fold in (le pliage sur soi-même ou le surpli); Roussel et la fuite infini des parenthèses; la création de la syntaxe; le poète et essayiste français Charles Péguy; l'écrivain et médecin français Louis-Ferdinand Céline; les limites du langage; et la littérature moderne comme une opération vers une invention de la syntaxe.

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This research has been generously supported through a grant from the College of Liberal Arts, Purdue University.

The translations of Deleuze’s “Foucault” seminars have been made possible by a Scholarly Editions and Translations grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This research has also been generously supported through a grant from the College of Liberal Arts, Purdue University.

The description of this dataset is based on the meticulous work of Frédéric Astier, whose Les cours enregistrés de Gilles Deleuze, 1979-1987 has catalogued Deleuze’s seminars for those years.

Special thanks to the family of Gilles Deleuze and the University of Paris 8 for permission to reproduce the material published here.

The Deleuze Seminars

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