Carlo Ginzburg on Foucault

Maria Lúcia G. Pallares Burke interviewing Carlo Ginzburg, in The New History (Polity Press, 2002), pp. 208-209.

I think Foucault is much more interesting than his followers. What is so uninteresting about them is that they take his metaphors as explanations, and that is absurd. And I would even say that Foucault before his metaphors is much more interesting than with his metaphors. /…/

There are several Foucaults, and one of them was extremely brilliant. But as an original thinker he has benn in my view highly overraed. He was a footnote to Nietzsche – but there are so few original thinkers, after all. /…/

Personally, he was probably the most agressive person I ever met. And also egocentric in a maniacal way, which allowed him to sell his image effectively. /…/

That is why a sober approach to Foucault by someone who is not a follower would be very refreshing. A lot of rubbish has been written on him, and actually all those eulogies ultimately belittle him. It would be very good if somebody could rescue Foucault from this silly idolatry.

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