Guy Debord

Overview


This is the first serious intellectual biography of Guy Debord, prime mover of the Situationist International (1957-1972) and author of The Society of the Spectacle, perhaps the seminal book of May 1968 in France. Anselm Jappe rejects recent attempts to set Debord up as a "postmodern" icon, arguing that he was a social theorist in the Hegelian-Marxist tradition—not a precursor of Jean Baudrillard but an heir of the young Georg Lukács of History and Class Consciousness (1923). Neither hagiographical nor ...
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Overview


This is the first serious intellectual biography of Guy Debord, prime mover of the Situationist International (1957-1972) and author of The Society of the Spectacle, perhaps the seminal book of May 1968 in France. Anselm Jappe rejects recent attempts to set Debord up as a "postmodern" icon, arguing that he was a social theorist in the Hegelian-Marxist tradition—not a precursor of Jean Baudrillard but an heir of the young Georg Lukács of History and Class Consciousness (1923). Neither hagiographical nor sectarian, Guy Debord places its subject squarely in his historical context: the politicizing Letterist and Situationist "anti-artists" who, in the European aftermath of World War II, sought to criticize and transcend the Surrealist legacy. The book offers a lively, critical, and unusually reliable account of Debord's "last avant-garde" on its way from radical bohemianism to revolutionary theory. Jappe also discusses Debord's films, which are largely inaccessible at present. This English language edition of the book has been revised by the author and features an updated critical bibliography of Debord and the Situationists.
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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement
A clear-headed account [and quoting TLS, 10/4/96 review of French edition), 'far and away the best we have so far.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520212053
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 8/5/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 205
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Anselm Jappe was born in Bonn in 1962 and has lived in Rome since 1983. Apart from Guy Debord, which has now appeared in six languages, he has published Schade um Italien! (1997) and is a frequent contributor to theoretical journals in various countries. Donald Nicholson-Smith has previously translated Guy Debord's The Society of the Spectacle and Raoul Vaneigem's The Revolution of Everyday Life. T. J. Clark's most recent book is Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism (1999).
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Table of Contents

Foreword
Translator's Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
A Note on Quotation from English Translations
Pt. 1 The Concept of the Spectacle
Must We Burn Debord? 1
The Spectacle - Highest Stage of Abstraction 5
Debord and Lukacs 19
History and Community as the Essence of Man 31
Pt. 2 The Practice of Theory
The Letterist International 45
The Situationists and Art 63
The Critique of Everyday Life 72
The Situationists and the Sixties 81
May 1968 and After 99
The Debord Myth 105
The Spectacle Twenty Years On 117
Pt. 3 Theory Past and Present
The Situationist Critique in Historical Context 125
The Aporias of the Subject and the Prospects for Action 135
Two Sources and Two Aspects of Debord's Theory 148
Afterword to the English-Language Edition 161
Bibliography 1: Works of Guy Debord 169
Bibliography 2: Selected Works on Debord and tbe Situationists 175
Index 181
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