by Raoul Vaneigem

translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith

Originally published just months before the May 1968 upheavals in France, Raoul Veneigem’s  THE REVOLUTION OF EVERYDAY LIFE offered a lyrical and aphoristic critique of the “society o the spectacle” from the point of view of individual experience.  Whereas Guy Debord’s masterful analysis of the new historical conditions that triggered the uprising of the 1960s armed the revolutionaries of the time with theory, Vaneigem’s book described their feelings of desperation directly, and armed them with “formulations capable of firing pointblank on our enemies.”

“I realize,” writes Vaneigem in his introduction, “that I have given subjective will an easy time in this book, but let no one reproach me conditions of the contemporary world advance the cause of the subjectivity day after day.”

Vaneigem names and defines the alienating features of everyday life in consumer society: survival rather than life, a call to sacrifice, the cultivation of false needs, the dictatorship of the commodity, subjection to social roles, and above all the replacement of God by the Economy.  and in the second part of his book, “Reversal of Perspective,” he explores the countervailing impulses that, in true dialectical fashion, persist within the deepest alienation: creativity, spontaneity, poetry, and the path from isolation to communication and participation.  For “to desire a different life is already that life in the making” and “fulfillment is expressed in the singular but conjugated in the plural.”

This new edition of THE REVOLUTION OF EVERYDAY LIFE has been reviewed and corrected by the translator and contains a new preface addressed to English-language readers by Raoul Vaneigem.  The book is the first of several translation of works by Vaneigem that PM plans to publish in uniform volumes.  Vaneigem’s classic work is to be followed by THE KNIGHT, THE LADY, THE DEVIL, AND DEATH (originally published in 2003) and THE INHUMANITY OF RELIGION (originally published in 2000).


Raoul Vaneigem was born in 1934 and grew up in the wake of World War ll in a working-class, socialist, and anticlerical milieu.  He studied Romance philology at the Free University of Brussels and embarked on a teaching career that he later abandoned in favor of writing.  In late 1960, Vaneigem was introduced to Guy Debord by Henri Lefebvre, and soon after he joined the Situationist International, which Debord and his comrades-in-arms had founded not long before.  He remained in the group throughout the decade of the 1960s.


Born in Manchester, England, Donald Nicholson-Smith is a longtime resident of New York City.  As a young man he was a member of the Situationist International, and his translations include Guy Debord’s THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE (Zone) and Henri Lefebvre’s THE PRODUCTION OF SPACE (Blackwell), as well as works by Jean-Patrick Manchette, Thierry Jonquet, and Paco Ignacio Taibo II

978-1-60486-213-3   $20.00   6×9   Paperback.  304 Pages   Philosophy/Politics

PM Press


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