The Tribe
The Tribe
Contributions to the History of the Situationist International and Its Time
Photographs by Ed van der Elsken
Translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith


Between 1952 and 1954, Jean-Michel Mension haunted Saint-Germain-des-Prés as a member of the legendary Letterist International, direct progenitor of the Situationist International. In a series of conversations, Mension recounts this very particular vie de bohème whiled away with Guy Debord and a rogue's gallery of hard drinkers and thinkers.

The Tribe is a rare, vivid tour of a moment and milieu barely noticed at the time by the tourists who flocked to the Left Bank for a glimpse of Sartre & Co. The rich iconography includes many of Ed van der Elsken's celebrated photographs of "the tribe" and a trove of Letterist leaflets and posters. A rare, vivid tour of a moment and milieu barely noticed at the time by the tourists flocking to Saint-Germain for a glimpse of Sartre & Co.

"The Tribe relates the Parisian wanderings of a heterogeneous group of individuals who cultivated laziness and revolt, alcohol and talk, drift and chance, creative hopes and encounters . . . in quest of a Rimbaldian derangement of all the senses, of détournement of art and daily life in the defiance of order, by vandalism, by deliquency, but also by an altogether contemporary quest for a supersession of Marxism." —Le Monde libertaire

""In his oral memoir The Tribe, Jean-Michel Mension provides a useful context for [Guy] Debord's particular estrangement from postwar modernity. Mension reveals a multicultural dimension that is rarely explored in the burgeoning literature on this group . . . " —McKenzie Wark, Bookforum

"Mension, who began submitting writing to the Letterist journal at 18, recounts life in this fascinating, emphatically improvident, quasi-anarchist subculture, delivering vivid anecdotes and a still-fresh scoff-law sensibility." —Publishers Weekly

Jean-Michel Mension (1934 - 2006) misspent his youth in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the early 1950s before joining the Communist Party in 1962 and the Ligue Communiste in 1968. The Tribe is Mension's first book; he published his second in 2001: Le Temps gage: aventures politiques et artistique d'un irrégulier à Paris.

Title The Tribe
Subtitle Contributions to the History of the Situationist International and Its Time
Photographs by Ed van der Elsken
Translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith
Publisher City Lights Publishers
Title First Published 01 October 2001
Format Paperback
Nb of pages 145 p.
ISBN-10 0872863921
ISBN-13 9780872863927
Publication Date 01 October 2001
Main content page count 145
Dimensions 5.5 x 8 in.
Weight 16 oz.
List Price $14.95
 


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