This book by the legendary Situationist activist and author of "The Revolution of Everyday Life" examines the heretical and millenarian movements that challenged social and ecclesiastical authority in Europe from the 1200s into the 1500s. Although Vaneigem discusses a number of different movements such as the Cathars and Joachimite millenarians, his main emphasis is on the various manifestations of the Movement of the Free Spirit in northern Europe. He sees not only resistance to the power of state and church but also the immensely creative invention of new forms of love, sexuality, community, and exchange. Vaneigem is particularly interested in the radical opposition presented by these movements to the imperatives of an emerging market-based economy, and he evokes crucial historical parallels with the antisystemic rebellions of the 1960s. The book includes translations of original texts and source materials.
"The most striking aspect of Vaneigem's compendium of Free Spirit Loreis his ability to release the material into the present, to allow itto communicate on the same level of extremism and disruption as it didin the Middle Ages. Again and again, confronted with the likes ofMargaret Porete's ecstatic revisioning of being or John Hartmann'scoolly absolutist gnosis, you can almost feel the whole great edificeof social order - their Church, our capitalist democracy - gatheritself up, take a deep breath, and run." Greil Marcus , author of Lipstick Traces