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French philosopher and historian Michel Foucault is essential reading for students in departments of literature, history, sociology and cultural studies. His work on the institutions of mental health and medicine, the history of systems of knowledge, literature and literary theory, criminality and the prison system, and sexuality, has had a profound and enduring impact across the humanities and social sciences. This introductory book, written for students, offers in-depth critical and contextual perspectives on all of Foucault's major published works. It provides ways in to understanding Foucault's key concepts of subjectivity, discourse, and power and explains the problems of translation encountered in reading Foucault in English. The book also explores the critical reception of Foucault's works and acquaints the reader with the afterlives of some of his theories, particularly his influence on feminist and queer studies. This book offers the ideal introduction to a famously complex, controversial and important thinker.