Lettrist International

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The Lettrist International (or Letterist International; LI) was a Paris-based collective of radical artists and theorists between 1952 and 1957. It was created by Guy Debord as a schism from Isidore Isou's Lettrist group. The group went on to join others in forming the Situationist International, taking some key techniques and ideas with it.


(in French)

  • Internationale lettriste, 4 numbers, Paris, Dec 1952-Jun 1954.
  • Guy Debord, "Les environs de Fresnes (1952-1953)", in Debord, Enregistrements magnétiques, Paris: Gallimard, 2010.
  • Visages de l’avant-garde 1953: Internationale lettriste, Paris: Jean-Paul Rocher, 2010. Text from the LI that recalls the adventures of the lettrists between 1945 to February 1953, first published 2010.
  • Patrick Straram, Les bouteilles se couchent [1953], Paris: Allia, 2006. Semi-fictionalised contemporary account of the scene, written in 1953 but lost until recently.
  • Potlatch: bulletin d'information de groupe français de l'Internationale lettriste, later Potlatch: bulletin d'information de l'Internationale lettriste, 29 numbers (28 issues), Paris, 22 Jun 1954-5 Nov 1957; new ed., augm., Paris: Champ Libre, 1985; Paris: Gallimard, 1996. [1]
  • Les Lèvres Nues, 12 numbers, Brussels, 1954-58; facs., Paris: Plasma, 1978; Paris: Allia, 1999.
  • Ed Van der Elsken, Love on the Left Bank, 1956; repr., Stockport: Dewi Lewis Publishing, 1999. Ed van der Elsken was a Dutch photographer, who captured the scene around Moineau's during the period. Included among the people depicted in this book are a few members and associates of the LI (particularly Mension and Papaï).
  • Guy Debord, "Histoire de l'Internationale lettriste (1956)", in Debord, Enregistrements magnétiques, Paris: Gallimard, 2010.
  • Documents relatifs à la fondation de l'Internationale situationniste, 1948-1957, Paris: Allia, 1985.
  • Guy Debord, Le marquis de Sade a des yeux de fille, Paris: Fayard, 2004. Correspondence between Debord, Hervé Falcou and Ivan Chtcheglov in the early 1950s.
English translations


(in French unless noted otherwise)

  • Jean-Louis Brau, Cours camarade, le vieux monde est derrière toi, Paris: Albin Michel, 1968.
  • Eliane Brau, Le Situationnisme ou la Nouvelle Internationale, Paris: Debresse, 1968.
  • Jean-Louis Brau, Le Singe appliqué, Paris: Grasset, 1972; Paris: Le Dilettante, 2012.
  • Stewart Home, The Assault on Culture: Utopian Currents from Lettrisme to Class War, London: Aporia Press and Unpopular Books, 1988; 2nd ed., AK Press, 1991. (English)
  • Greil Marcus, Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century, London: Penguin, 1989. (English)
  • Jean-Michel Mension, La Tribu, Paris: Allia, 1998.
  • Richard Grasshoff, Der Befreite Buchstabe. Über Lettrismus. Letters in Freedom, 2000. Dissertation. (German)
  • Jean-Michel Mension, Le Temps gage, Paris: Noésis, 2001.
  • Andrew Hussey, The Game of War, London: Jonathan Cape, 2001. (English)
  • Marc Vachon, L’arpenteur de la ville: L’utopie situationniste et Patrick Straram, Montreal: Triptyque, 2003.
  • Figures de la négation: avant-gardes du dépassement de l'art, ed. Yan Ciret, Saint-Étienne: Musée d'art moderne, 2004, 178 pp. TOC. Catalogue for exh. held 22 Nov 2003-22 Feb 2004. (French)
  • Bernard Girard, Paris, laboratoire des avant-gardes, 1945-1965, Dijon: Les Presses du réel, 2008. Review: Pageard (Critique d'art). (French)
  • Michel Giroud, Lettrisme, L’ultime avant-garde, Dijon: Les Presses du réel, 2010, 256 pp. [2]
  • Lettrisme: vue d’ensemble sur quelques dépassements précis, La Seyne-sur-Mer: Villa Tamaris, 2010. Catalogue.
  • Giulia Ciliberto, Veronica Vitti, Lettrismo / French Current of the Letter, c2010. (Italian)
  • Guillaume Robin, Lettrisme, le bouleversement des arts: essai sur le lettrisme et les différents mouvements artistiques, Paris: Hermann, 2010. Review.
  • Nicole Brenez, ‘We support everything since the dawn of time that has struggled and still struggles.’ Introduction to lettrist cinema, Stockholm and Berlin: Moderna Muset/Sternberg Press, 2015, 72 pp. (English) [3]
  • Kaira M. Cabañas, Off-Screen Cinema: Isidore Isou and the Lettrist Avant-Garde, University of Chicago Press, 2015, 192 pp. (English)


See also[edit]



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