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Guy Debord [Paperback]

Anselm Jappe
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 21.95
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Book Description

21 July 1999
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 Lukacs 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.

Product details

  • Paperback: 206 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (21 July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520212053
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520212053
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 635,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

About 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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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars well... 18 Nov 2006
The previous comment may have devided the voters down the middle but he is clearly not entirely correct. Debord read alot himself - Lukacs' History of Class Consicousness was a preoccupation - but it is true that books were only of use to him in so far as they could lead him to better praxis, better living, and polish his game. As for this book - it is a good "intellectual biography" of his thought and its inspirations. Read it for yourself and you really might find it a help!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Debord 8 April 2007
This is a great book for those interested in the works of Guy Debord and understanding the concept of 'spectacular society'. Jappe devotes the first part of the book to an in depth analysis of the theory of 'the spectacle' and its influences. He goes on to relate the thinking of Debord and the SI to their contemporaries, placed in a brief biographical context and valuation of the role played by Debord and the SI in the events on 1968. He gives a brief account of Debords development post 1968 before finishing with a critique of Debords theory, its successes as well as shortcomings. Do note it is very helpful to have a good grounding in Marxist thought and the account given by Jappe is influenced by his own ideas as what the correct form of Marxism should be. Certainly dont buy this is your looking for a mere biography!
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18 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why bother? 31 July 1999
By A Customer
Reading books won't help.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars demise of public space 12 Oct 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
With a variety of historical references and cultural events to offer a sound foundation for the events thwarted and formulated by Debord, Jappe constructs an informative synopsis of the development of the situationalists. The transformative evolution from the LI (Letterist International) to the SI (Situationalist International)is explored, as are multiple situations which gained both groups recognition by intellectual circles. Well referenced, well written.
19 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why bother? 31 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Reading books won't help
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