Inveterate 1950s-style Parisian slacker Jean-Michel Mension's first book, The Tribe: Conversations with Gerard Berreby and Francesco Milo (volume 1 of Contributions to the History of the Situationist International and Its Time), arrives in this country translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith. Published in France in 1998, the lengthy interview concerns Paris's Saint-Germain-des-Pres neighborhood in the years 1952-1954, when the members of Letterist International and then of Situationist International, an even more Boho crowd than Sartre et al., were hanging around at Moineau's bar and, frequently, behind bars. 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.
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 the quest of a Rimbaldian derangement of the senses, of detournement of art and daily life by the defiance of order, by vandalism, be delinquency, but also by an altogether contemporary quest for a supersession of Marxism.
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