New book looks at Foucault’s time in Claremont
When famed French philosopher Michel Foucault visited Death Valley in 1975 to expand his consciousness with a carefully organized LSD experience, Simeon Wade was there.
Wade, who taught history at CGU in the 1970s, records his reminiscences in Heyday Books’ Foucault in California: [A True Story―Wherein the Great French Philosopher Drops Acid in the Valley of Death], a book recently reviewed by English Professor Eric Bulson —along with several other books by and about Foucault—in a May issue of the Times Literary Supplement.
Read Bulson’s full review in the Times Literary Supplement here.
Bulson describes how Wade, deeply immersed in Foucault, created a program with curriculum based in his work and invited him to Claremont in the 1970s. The Foucault whom we meet in Wade’s book is a “remarkably affable, if at times shy, human being, self-effacing, generous, witty and engaging,” Bulson writes.
Wade also proves to be very good at painting a portrait of the philosopher using metaphors from that era. When Foucault dresses in a white turtleneck with mirrored sunglasses to visit Death Valley, for instance, Wade writes that he looked “like the child of Kojak and Elton John.”
Bulson’s review is a helpful guide to students of Foucault—whose History of Sexuality was significantly influenced by that SoCal visit—as well as to CGU-centric readers interested in hearing about Foucault’s trips (the non-psychedelic ones, too) along Route 66 and up to Mt. Baldy.