Leaving the 20th Century


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“It is high time to put an end to the dead time that has dominated this century and to finish the Christian era with the same stroke. The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom. Ours is the best effort so far towards leaving the 20th century.”In 1964, when thse words were written, they seemd to have little relevance. By 1968 ten million workers were on strike and France was near revolution – ‘Our ideas are in everyone’s minds.’If any single idea lay at the heart of May ’68 it was Situationism. The search for a ‘Northwest Passage’ from the banal tyranny of the modern bourgeois order into the ‘world that has never been’ was signposted most clearly by the Situationists. Through a thousand acts of refusal and rebellion, the route is revealed. The task was simple – to ‘reconstruct’ life itself.Published in 1974, Leaving the 20th Century was the first collection of Situationist writing in English. Chris Gray, its editor, was himself a member of the Situationist International. Long out of print, this volume has gained an enormous reputation. Now, as we stand just inside the gates of the 21st century, it is time for a new generation of readers to take up this remarkable book.

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