BOOK REVIEW / Paperbacks: The Passion of Michel Foucault by James Miller, Flamingo pounds 8.99

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Foucault, who died of Aids in 1983, was up there with Sartre in the premier league of French intellectuals. His passion was the belief that 'the body like the soul was in some sense socially constructed' and his pursuit of that construction led him to be uniquely frank about his own sexual interests (which were of the gay S/M variety). This intellectual biography is a useful introduction to a philospher who thought in a new way not merely about sex but about all extreme experience - madness, imprisonment, terminal illness - in eye-opening works whose historical research was consistently formidable.