Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Progressive Geographies

Melissa Pawelski, “Between ‘Körper’ and ‘Leib’ – Translating Michel Foucault’s concept of the body after Friedrich Nietzsche“, Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice, 2022 (open access)

This article analyses the German words ‘Leib’ and ‘Körper’ that can both be translated as ‘the body’ in English and as ‘le corps’ in French. The human body is a central object in the philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche and Michel Foucault. Whilst ‘Körper’, originating in Latin, commonly refers to the body, ‘Leib’ stems from Middle High German meaning ‘the body’, ‘life’, and ‘person’. Nietzsche’s use of ‘Leib’ must be understood as an idiosyncrasy, an Untranslatable following Cassin. In Nietzsche’s thought, he insists on the aspects of life and the will to live, positing that the body ought not to be abstracted in philosophy. I show that the word ‘Leib’ is functional in Nietzsche’s philosophy on which, in turn, Foucault draws…

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