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.

Publications[edit]

Potlatch, 29 numbers, 1954-1957, PDFs, PDF (transcript).

(in French)

Periodicals[edit]

  • Potlatch: bulletin d'information de groupe français de l'Internationale lettriste, later Potlatch: bulletin d'information de l'Internationale lettriste, 29 numbers (27 issues), eds. André-Frank Conord (1-8), Mohamed Dahou (9-18, 20-22), Gil J. Wolman (19), and Jacques Fillon (23-24), Paris, 22 Jun 1954-5 Nov 1957; new ed., augm., as Potlatch, 1954-1957, Paris: Lebovici, 1985, 242 pp; repr. as Guy Debord présente Potlatch, 1954-1957, Paris: Gallimard, 1996, 291 pp. [1] [2]
  • Les Lèvres Nues, 12 numbers, Brussels, 1954-1958; facs., Paris: Plasma, 1978, 500 pp; Paris: Allia, 1999. [4]

Books, articles[edit]

  • Guy Debord, "Les environs de Fresnes" [1952-1953], in Debord, Enregistrements magnétiques, Paris: Gallimard, 2010.
  • Visages de l’avant-garde 1953: Internationale lettriste [1953], ed. Jean-Louis Rançon, Paris: Jean-Paul Rocher, 2010. Text from the LI that recalls the adventures of the lettrists between 1945 to February 1953, first published 2010. [5]. Review: Froger (Critique d'art).
  • Patrick Straram, Les bouteilles se couchent [1953], Paris: Allia, 2006. Semi-fictionalised contemporary account of the scene, written in 1953 but lost until recently.
  • 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, ed. Gérard Berréby, Paris: Allia, 1985. [6]
  • 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. [7]
English translations

Literature[edit]

(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 Lettriste International (1952-57)", ch 3 in 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: Secker & Warburg, 1989, 496 pp; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989, 496 pp; new ed., London: Penguin, 1993, 512 pp; repr., Harvard University Press, 2009. (English)
    • Tracce di rossetto: percorsi segreti nella cultura del Novecento dal dada ai Sex Pistols, trans. Mita Vitti, Milan: Leonardo, 1991, 506 pp; repr., Milan: Il Saggiatore, 2018, 523 pp. (Italian)
    • Lipstick Traces: von Dada bis Punk - eine geheime Kulturgeschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts, trans. Hans M. Herzog and Friedrich Schneider, Hamburg: Rogner & Bernhard bei Zweitausendeins, 1992, 512 pp. (German)
    • Rastros de carmín. Una historia secreta del siglo XX, trans. Damián Alou, Barcelona: Anagrama, 1993, 527 pp. (Spanish)
    • Lipstick traces: une histoire secrète du vingtième siècle, trans. Guillaume Godard, Paris: Gallimard, 1998, 602 pp. [8] (French)
    • Stopy rtěnky: tajná historie dvacátého století, trans. Dušan Krejčí, Olomouc: Votobia, 1998, 427 pp. (Czech)
    • Ruj lekesi: Yirminci Yüzyılın gizli tarihi, trans. Gürol Koca, Istanbul: Ayrıntı, 1999, 496 pp. (Turkish)
    • Sledy pomady: Taynaya istoriya XX veka [Следы помады: Тайная история XX века], trans. A. Umnyashov, Moscow: Hylaea (Гилея), 2019, 640 pp. [9] (Russian)
  • 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. [10]
  • 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) [11]
  • Kaira M. Cabañas, Off-Screen Cinema: Isidore Isou and the Lettrist Avant-Garde, University of Chicago Press, 2015, 192 pp. (English)
  • James Trier, "Guy Debord, the Lettrists, and the Lettrist International, 1951–1957", ch 2 in Trier, Guy Debord, the Situationist International, and the Revolutionary Spirit, Leiden: Brill, 2019, pp 29-78. [12] (English)

Resources[edit]

See also[edit]

Links[edit]


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