Special Issue 44:3, pages 220-233
Untimely Historiography? Foucault’s “Greco-Latin Trip”
Abstract: Around 1980, Michel Foucault took a new direction in his historical work. This essay poses a question about the historiographical stance Foucault adopts in his late lectures by contrasting them with an early essay, “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History.” The central question concerns the status of “critical history,” a term Foucault derives from Friedrich Nietzsche. The turn toward ethics in the later work combines with Foucault’s urge toward a rapprochement with philosophy as a discipline and his engagement with canonical works of antiquity in a constellation of effects that seem to blunt the critical edge of his earlier historiography. It is finally through a turn toward the Cynics very near the end of his career that Foucault revives a form of historiographical untimeliness.