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Die graue Arbeit des Diskurses – Überlegungen zu einer Literaturgeschichtsschreibung mit und bei Michel Foucault

Franziska Humphreys

Pages 205 - 222

During the 1960s, Michel Foucault nourished his philosophical thinking by his passion for literature. It is in the field of literature that his theory of discourse later elaborated in his Archaeology of Knowledge initially takes shape. My reading of The Order of Things will show that Foucault’s work is based on a hidden pivot which is the twin figure of Nietzsche and Mallarmé. The philosopher and the poet are both accomplices and opponents when it comes to making “the being of language” appear on the stage of history. It thus becomes obvious for instance that the introduction of a certain notion of “fiction” was necessary for the construction of Foucault’s epistemes. By trying to situate Michel Foucault’s thinking of language in relation to his two major influences – Mallarmé’s poésie pure and Nietzsche’s genealogy –, this article also questions his notion of the “discursive event” and its particular emergence in the historico-poetic stories invented by Foucault.


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