In the last twenty years the concept of the quotidien, or the everyday, has been prominent in contemporary French culture and in British and American cultural studies. This book provides the first comprehensive analytical survey of the whole field of approaches to the everyday. It offers, firstly, a historical perspective, demonstrating the importance of mainstream and dissident Surrealism; the indispensable contribution, over a 20-year period (1960-80), of four major figures: Henri Lefebvre, Roland Barthes, Michel de Certeau, and Georges Perec; and the recent proliferation of works that investigate everyday experience. Secondly, it establishes the framework of philosophical ideas on which discourses on the everyday depend, but which they characteristically subvert. Thirdly, it comprises searching analyses of works in a variety of genres, including fiction, the essay, poetry, theatre, film, photography, and the visual arts, consistently stressing how explorations of the everyday tend to question
Michael Sheringham is Marshal Foch Professor of French Literature at the University of Oxford.