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Overview

Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason was written by French philosopher and historian Michel Foucault and published in 1961. In it, Foucault offers a deep and complex treatment of the role of madness in Western society in which he seeks to identify the cultural, intellectual, and economic structures that dictate how madness is constructed.

Like many of Foucault’s works, Madness and Civilization focuses on the classical period from 1660 to the end of the 19th century—a period that he saw as the birthplace of many of the characteristic institutions and structures of the modern world.

Read the overall summary, explanations of important quotes,  and four Question & Answers about key ideas in Madness and Civilization.

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