The Night

Michele Bernstein


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Book Works
1 June 2013
ISBN: 9781906012526
160 pages

From the publisher

Translated by Clodagh Kinsella

A second edition of The Night with a new postface by Michèle Bernstein.

‘I am a fraud. Anyone who buys The Night (thank you) and so much as skims it might think that I used to spend my time walking the streets of Paris like the two lovers in the book. Not true. Sure, many a night I used my feet in the company of some extremely bright youngsters, the same youngsters I’d sing and drink with in a shabby little dive (the dive from which everything was to spring later). But most of the time I was pedalling silently, alone.’ – from the new postface to the second edition, Michèle Bernstein

Translated from La Nuit, 1961, into English for the first time by Clodagh Kinsella, this is the second novel of Michèle Bernstein, a founding member of the Situationist International. Following All the King’s Horses, it was also written for cash, and again cannibalises the plot of Les Liaisons dangeureuses, featuring the same characters as her debut: Gilles, Geneviève, Carole and Bertrand. The story remains the same, but the book is different, this time parodying the style of the nouveau roman, with its elongated sentences and non-linear sense of time and place. As its protagonists drift through the streets of Paris, through the entanglements of a ménage à trois, and the ennui of a summer holiday on the Côte d’Azur, The Night is littered with détournements – unattributed quotations and knowing winks at situationist practices – and clues that give insight into the lives and spirit of both the author and her husband Guy Debord.

With an original preface  and postface for the second English edition by the author, The Night was translated by Clodagh Kinsella, edited by Everyone Agrees, and designed by Erik Hartin, as part of a project with After The Night, a détournement of La Nuit, set in London, 2013. Everyone Agrees are a collective who operate and publish out of London and New York.

‘We were all Marxists, or course – still are. Totally under the charm of the old man – the genius. Maybe he will become more and more important now.’ – The Game: An interview with Michèle Bernstein, novelist and founding member of the Situationist International by Gavin Everall, frieze magazine, September 2013

‘…a paradigmatic example of Lettrist détournement – the hijacking of preexisting cultural material and its redeployment to revolutionary ends. She very successfully incorporates elements from her own life, various films and other people’s books into The Night.’ – The Night and After The Night, by Stewart Home, Art Review, September, 2013