Lefebvre & Ancient Space

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A current side-project I am working on is the use of ancient cities in Henri Lefebvre’s urban writings. Many in my field have read The Production of Space and it appears regularly in bibliographies, however there is little engagment with the Lefebvre’s historical work, let alone his theoretical schema. Ancient Rome is a common example throughout Lefebvre’s writings in the years 1965-1974 and much of this work is now available in translation. This project seeks to assess the role of ancient Rome within Lefebvre’s history of the city and urbanisation, as well as Rome’s place within his conceptual schema of the production of space.

Throughout the process of writing this project, I will post discussion of some key texts and their use of ancient case studies. Lefebvre draws on a variety of sources from the ancient world (cities, buildings, literary sources, material remains) and, as typical, rarely cites secondary literature. Many of these references are placed within a wider argument, whether the history of the city or the historical development of the production of space. Several of the translations have ancient Roman and Greek  entries in the indices, which are helpful starting places for particular references.

Stuart Elden has some very useful resources on Henri Lefebvre here. His continually updated ‘Where to start with reading Lefebvre?’ gives a summary of the diversity of topics touched on by Lefebvre and his Understanding Henri Lefebvre is a comprehensive (although not exhaustive) introduction to Lefebvre’s work.

Key texts of Lefebvre (those emphasised in bold make direct reference to the ancient world, Rome or particular Roman buildings and spaces) in translation with orginal publication dates:

Critique of Everyday Life, London: Verso, 2014 [Vol. 1: 1947, 2nd ed. 1958]
Critique of Everyday Life, London: Verso, 2014 [Vol. 2: 1961]
Introduction to Modernity, London: Verso, 2011 [1962]
Metaphilosophy, London: Verso, 2016 [1965]
‘Right to the City’ (Le droit à la ville, Anthropos [1968]) in Writings on Cities, Oxford: Blackwell, 1996.
Marxist Thought and the City, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016 [1968] see post here.
The Urban Revolution, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003 [1970]
Everyday Life in the Modern World, London: Bloomsbury, 2016 [1971]
Toward An Architecture of Enjoyment, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014 [written in 1973 not published until 2014]
The Survival of Capitalism, London: Allison & Busby, 1978 [1973]
The Production of Space, Oxford: Blackwell, 1991 [1974]
Critique of Everyday Life, London: Verso, 2014 [Vol. 3: 1981]
‘Preface to the New Edition’ (La Production de l’espace, 3rd ed. [1986]) in Henri Lefebvre: Key Writings, 2003.
‘The Urban in Question’ (‘L’Urbain en question’, Société Fraçaise, 33 [1989], pp. 44-7.) in Writings on Cities, Oxford: Blackwell, 1996.
Rhythmanalysis: Space, Time and Everyday Life, London: Bloomsbury, 2013 [Éléments de rhythmanalyse, Éditions Syllepse, Paris, 1992]