Critique of Everyday Life [NOOK Book]

Overview

Henri Lefebvre’s magnum opus: a monumental exploration of contemporary society.

Henri Lefebvre’s three-volume Critique of Everyday Life is perhaps the richest, most prescient work by one of the twentieth century’s greatest philosophers. Written at the birth of post-war consumerism, the Critique was a philosophical inspiration for the 1968 student revolution in France and is considered to be the founding text of all that we know as cultural ...
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Critique of Everyday Life

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Overview

Henri Lefebvre’s magnum opus: a monumental exploration of contemporary society.

Henri Lefebvre’s three-volume Critique of Everyday Life is perhaps the richest, most prescient work by one of the twentieth century’s greatest philosophers. Written at the birth of post-war consumerism, the Critique was a philosophical inspiration for the 1968 student revolution in France and is considered to be the founding text of all that we know as cultural studies, as well as a major influence on the fields of contemporary philosophy, geography, sociology, architecture, political theory and urbanism. A work of enormous range and subtlety, Lefebvre takes as his starting-point and guide the “trivial” details of quotidian experience: an experience colonized by the commodity, shadowed by inauthenticity, yet one which remains the only source of resistance and change.

This is an enduringly radical text, untimely today only in its intransigence and optimism.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``The more needs a human being has, the more he exists,'' quips Lefebvre in a savage critique of consumerist society, first published in 1947. The French philosopher, historian and Marxist sociologist, who died this summer at age 90, meditates on the dehumanization and ugliness smuggled into daily life under cover of purity, utility, beauty. He deconstructs leisure as a form of social control, spanks surrealism for its turning away from reality, and attempts to get past the ``mystification'' inherent in bourgeois life by analyzing Chaplin's films, Brecht's epic theater, peasant festivals, daydreams, Rimbaud and the rhythms of work and relaxation. Rejecting the inauthentic, which he perceives in a church service or in rote work from which one is alienated, Lefebvre nevertheless seeks to unearth the human potential that may be inherent in such rituals. (Nov.)
Library Journal
This translation of the second edition 1958 of French sociologist and philosopher Lefebvre's Critique de la Vie Quotidienne will introduce the English reader to his examination of the forces and structures that govern various aspects of our daily lives and in particular the role played by alienation in its various manifestations. The text includes a lengthy analytical introduction by the author that did not appear in the first edition of 1947. Lefebvre's Marxist orientation and terminology often make for tough reading, and there is a tendency here to make claims that lack clear supporting evidence. Nevertheless, it is to be hoped that Volumes 2 and 3 will eventually be translated, thereby allowing a fuller study of Lefebvre's thought.-- Terry Skeats, Bishop's Univ. Lib., Lennoxville, Quebec
Library Journal

Lefebvre (1901-91) is credited with the ideology that provoked the 1968 student uprisings in Paris, which started with a strike at Nanterre and rocked much of Europe. These three volumes, each previously published under separate cover, contain his critique of everyday life. His analyses start from a Marxist base and emphasize the tendency of capitalist society to dehumanize people by turning them into insatiable consumers whose purpose is to fuel a continuously expanding economy. Though Lefebvre counted himself among the "possibilists"-those who believed solutions must exist to the problems such societies pose-he found it difficult to propose a workable social plan, and his influence eventually faded. Since his death, Alain Badiou (b. 1937), who has argued that a truly open society must be predicated on notions of the infinite, has taken on some of the role that was once Lefebvre's, and his Infinite Thought: Truth and the Return to Philosophy should be read along with Lefebvre's work. Some academic libraries will welcome these convenient and well-translated texts, but public libraries are unlikely to find that the whole set justifies the shelf space it requires.
—Leslie Armour

David Harvey
“One of the great French intellectual activists of the twentieth century.”
Fredric Jameson
“The last great classical philosopher.”
From the Publisher
“A savage critique of consumerist society.”—Publishers Weekly

“One of the great French intellectual activists of the twentieth century.”—David Harvey

“The last great classical philosopher.”—Fredric Jameson

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781781683194
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 5/6/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 912
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Henri Lefebvre (1901–1991), former resistance fighter and professor of sociology at Strasbourg and Nanterre, was a member of the French Communist Party from 1928 until his expulsion in 1957. He was the author of sixty books on philosophy, sociology, politics, architecture and urbanism.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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