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Raoul Vaneigem

(b. 1934)


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(1934–)

Belgiananarchist philosopher who, along with Guy Debord, was one of the key theorists of Situationism. Born in Lessines, Belgium, he studied at the Free University of Brussels before moving to Paris. In 1960 he sent samples of his poetry to Henri Lefebvre who in turn passed them along to his student Guy Debord, thus facilitating their meeting and future collaborations. Vaneigem's most famous book, Traité de savoir-vivre á l'usage des jeunes générations (1967), translated as The Revolution of Everyday Life (1983), was published shortly before the irruption of student protest in May '68 and many of the slogans the students graffitied on walls were lifted from this text. A prolific writer and principal contributor to Internationale Situationniste, Vaneigem used pseudonyms for his more polemical texts. Consistent with the Situationist outlook, but also showing the influence of Wilhelm Reich, Vaneigem's thesis was that only creative, poetic activity can rescue us from the inauthenticity of everyday life in the capitalist world. This theme is continued in recent works such as Le Mouvement du libre-esprit (1986), translated as The Movement of the Free Spirit (1994).

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies.


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