Michel Foucault: The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1

The History of Sexuality analyzes power. Sexuality is a primary technology of power, and Foucault is interested in the geneology of that power.› The idea of the philosophical geneology comes out of the work of Nietzsche, on whom Foucault relies for key conceptual rubrics and modes of analysis. So, before we get started, here's a thought for the day: Consider what these things have to do with each other.› Was Robertson just ranting (or perhaps we should say merely ranting) or is there a logic to this list? How might one begin to talk about the connections in this list?

Key Ideas for The History of Sexuality, vol. 1:

Passages to examine from The History of Sexuality, vol. 1:



Repression (?) and Power:

The Classed Body:

Primary Text examples:

From Nymphomania, or a Dissertation Concerning the Furor Uterinus, by M. D. T. de Bienville, Trans. Edward Sloane Wilmot, printed by J. Bev., London 1775

In defense of TissotŪs Onanism, London 1766:

"÷How many thousands more have extricated themselves from it, through his assistance, in the moment, when they were yielding up a miserable life to that disorder which, in his work, is described with all the powers and truth of language?  Can that book be considered as dangerous, the sole design of which is to prevent illicit pleasure; to intimidate those young persons who may be subject to this unhappy madness; and to restrain the vicious transports of the constitution, by striking lessons, and by principles and consequences drawn from nature which must persuade?

Should this work fall into the hands of young persons, whether from the inattention of their parents, whether from the negligence of those who may have been designed to superintend their education, or whether from the seductions of some libertines, who are never at a loss for an artiface, whereby they gain a footing in a decent family; if, in a word, by any accident whatsoever, a young girl should find an opportunity to read this book, what must be the consequence?  Nothing."