Dear all,

as an amusing curiosity I can tell that also the Finnish (!) translation
gives some extra support for Han's translation: "a history of sexuality as
an experience". This might be something like corroboration, I guess :)

btw, I just realized that I have been participating in some of the
discussions here without introducing myself properly. Sorry about that, I'll
correct this now: I am mastering in philosophy at the University of
Helsinki, Finland. I did my bachelor's thesis on Canguilhem's Essai and I am
currently trying to find out what to do next.  I am certainly not an expert
on Foucault but I have definitely enjoyed reading these mails!

best wishes,

2008/7/18 Yoshie Furuhashi <>:

On Fri, Jul 18, 2008 at 6:38 AM, Kevin Turner <>

I have a query concerning a translation in "The Use of Pleasure."

In the English translation, Foucault states that what he planned was
'a history of the experience of sexuality' (UP: 4).

In Beatrice Han's discussion of this text in "Foucault's Critical


she modifies the translation so that it states that what Foucault
planned was 'a history of sexuality as an experience' (Han, 2002: 153).

This may seem like a subtle difference but I think a lot hangs on
whether Foucault is understood to be doing "a history of the experience
of sexuality" or "a history of sexuality as an experience."

Thoughts on which is the better translation, or whether both
translations are legitimate, or which translation best captures what
Foucault did, etc. would be most welcome.

The most faithful translation (in the sense of following the structure
of the original wording -- "une histoire de la sexualité comme
expérience"* -- closely) may be "a history of sexuality as
Beatrice Han's way of putting it may help problematize the idea of
"experience" as well as that of "sexuality" more sharply than Robert

* "II s'agissait en somme de voir comment, dans les sociétés
occidentales modernes, une « expérience » s'était constituée, telle
que les individus ont eu à se reconnaître comme sujets d'une «
sexualité », qui ouvre sur des domaines de connaissance très divers et
qui s'articule sur un système de règles et de contraintes. Le projet
était donc d'une histoire de la sexualité comme expérience - si on
entend par expérience la corrélation, dans une culture, entre domaines
de savoir, types de normativité et formes de subjectivité" (Le Souci
de Soi, Gallimard, 1984, p. 10).


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