Henri Lefebvre: Rhythmanalysis: Space, Time and Everyday Life.

Author:Maycroft, Neil
Position:Understanding Henri Lefebvre: Theory and the Possible Continuum - Book Review

Henri Lefebvre Rhythmanalysis: Space, Time and Everyday Life Continuum, London, 2004, 169 pp. ISBN 0-826-47299-0 (pbk) 15.99 [pounds sterling]

Stuart Elden Understanding Henri Lefebvre: Theory and the Possible Continuum, London, 2004, 288 pp. ISBN 0-826-47002-5 (hbk) 60 [pounds sterling] ISBN 0-826-47003-3 (pbk) 19.99 [pounds sterling]

Rhythmanalysis: Space, Time and Everyday Life represents the latest in a steadily growing list of translations of Lefebvre's writings. While the floodgates have hardly opened, there does now seem to be a steady trickle of newly translated material. The subtitle of this particular book, 'Space, Time and Everyday Life', captures the sense in which this short text represents a culmination of Lefebvre's thinking on these themes--themes that have remained unconnected in many accounts of Lefebvre's work, whether wilfully or otherwise. This is especially evident in those accounts that see only space in Lefebvre's writings. Time is bought centre-stage here by Lefebvre, and also in Stuart Elden's introduction and notes, which contextualise Lefebvre's text in some detail. Often regarded as the fourth volume in Lefebvre's long-running Critique of Everyday Life series, Rhythmanalysis takes elements of everyday life and thinks them through using the space-and-time-unifying concept of rhythm. As Elden notes, 'Lefebvre uses rhythm as a mode of analysis--a tool of analysis rather than just an object of it' (in Lefebvre, 2004: xiii).

The book brings together a number of writings, including the text of Elements of Rhythmanalysis: An Introduction to the Understanding of Rhythms, which Lefebvre wrote with his last wife Catherine Regulier. The last book Lefebvre wrote, it was published posthumously in 1992 and Elden's is the first full English translation of it. Rhythmanalysis also contains other pieces that have been published before, but for which Elden provides new translations.

Lefebvre and Regulier's Elements of Rhythmanalysis is composed of a series of discrete though interlocking short chapters, with titles such as 'The media day', 'Dressage', 'Seen from the window', and 'Music and rhythms'. Several recurring themes emerge: the difference between repetition and rhythm; the nature of cyclical and linear repetition and rhythm; the focus on the body as the source of multiple 'natural' rhythms; and the dialectical play of different rhythms, particularly the tense interplay of rational, industrial, linear time with natural...

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