Begins in the Middle Ages with vivid descriptions of the exclusion and confinement of lepers. Why, the author asks, when the leper houses were emptied at the end of the Middle Ages, were they turned into places of confinement for the mad? Why, within the space of several months in 1656, was one out of every hundred people in Paris confined?
Michel Foucault (1926-84). Celebrated French thinker and activist who challenged people's assumptions about care of the mentally ill, gay rights, prisons, the police and welfare. Jean Khalfa is a lecturer in French at Cambridge University, UK. Jonathan Murphy is an experienced translator, editor and lecturer.