Reviews: The Night and After The Night

The Game
An interview with Michèle Bernstein, novelist and founding member of the Situationist International

by Gavin Everall
frieze magazine, September 2013

‘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 Night and After The Night
by Stewart Home
Art Review 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.

Purple Diary
29 July, 2013

‘Michèle Bernstein, the foremost female protagonist of the Situationist movement – and Guy Debord’s wife – cannibalised the plot of Les Liaisons dangereuses, to the extent of even borrowing the 18th century’s novels characters of Gilles, Genèvieve, Carole and Bertrand, Michèle Bernstein, for her 1957 novel La Nuit. A playfully and somewhat mockingly constructed rumination on a novel’s form, La Nuit is littered with unattributed quotations and knowing winks at situationist high jinks, with its four protagonists drifting through the streets of Paris, weaving through the entanglements of ménage à trois and the ennui of a summer holiday on the Côte d’Azur in the spirit of both the author and her husband. Translated to English for the first time by Clodagh Kinsella, and edited by the literary collective Everyone Agrees – who, at the request of Bernstein, re-interpreted La Nuit for the 21st Century. Set in east London, After the Night traces the journeys and experiences of Bèrnstein’s original characters, directly mapping them to the streets of London and enacted through email conversations, snapshots of nightlife, and the odd mention of Olivier Zahm.’

Twin Cities, TLS
14 June 2013

‘Avant-gardism is in short supply these days, not least in the literary domain, where nothing is shocking any more and soporific storytelling has vanquished the taste for the back-to-front and inside-out. It was with pleasure, therefore, that we encountered TheNight / After the Night, two slim volumes published as one by Book Works of east London. The Night is a translation of La Nuit by the Situationist author Michèle Bernstein, wife of Guy Debord, the movement’s principal. First published in 1961, it is a Parisian perambulation, set in and around the Latin Quarter, with tints and highlights superimposed from the nouveau roman, Les Liaisons dangereuses, and the lives of the author and her husband. Here is the opening sentence:

At the corner of the Boulevard Saint-Germain and the Boulevard Saint-Michel lies a metro entrance, long since defunct, and bordered by the railings of a private garden.

The twin volume, After the Night, comes with photographs and transcriptions of email exchanges. It is set in London, in the present. The opening lines run as follows:

At the corner of Shepperton Road and Southgate Road lies the Rosemary Branch Theatre. Its scrawled chalkboard, black and white façade and pastel illustration of a hot air balloon look familiar.

A Possible Appointment With Michèle Bernstein by Stewart Home, Randnotizen, 28 May 2013

‘A possible appointment was a psychogeographical technique used by the Lettrist International and later the Situationist International. One variant of it was to go to a specific place at a specific time to meet someone who may or may not be there. When I got an invitation to the launch of the first English translation of Michèle Bernstein’s 1961 novel The Night (Book Works 2013), I decided this was a possible appointment with its author (who was deeply involved in Lettrist and Situationist activity in the 1950s and 1960s). While I didn’t know for sure Bernstein would be at the launch…’

Reviews: The Night and After The Night; ; August 1970; | Downloads: TLS 14 (pdf) Art Review_Sept 2013 (pdf) Randnotizen (pdf)