Review: Michel Foucault, Histoire de la sexualité 4: Les aveux de la chair
(2018) Theory, Culture and Society, 35 (7-8), pp. 293-311.
In February 2018 the fourth volume of Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality was finally published. Les aveux de la chair [Confessions of the Flesh] was edited by Frédéric Gros, and appeared in the same Gallimard series as Volumes 1, 2 and 3. The book deals with the early Christian Church Fathers of the second to fifth centuries. This essay reviews the book in relation to Foucault’s other work, showing how it sits in sequence with Volumes 2 and 3, but also partly bridges the chronological and conceptual gap to Volume 1. It discusses the state of the manuscript and whether it should have been published, given Foucault’s stipulation of ‘no posthumous publications’. It outlines the contents of the book, which is in three parts, on the formation of a new experience, on virginity and on marriage. There are also some important supplementary materials included. The review discusses how it begins to answer previously unanswered questions about Foucault’s work, and offers some suggestions about how the book might be received and discussed. © The Author(s) 2018.