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Marxist Thought and the City

Henri Lefebvre | Translated by Robert Bononno | Foreword by Stuart Elden

For the first time in English, Lefebvre’s essential work on how Marx and Engels conceptualized the development of the city.

Henri Lefebvre reviews the work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels for analysis on the life and growth of the city, describing its transition from life under feudalism to modern industrial capitalism. Now available in English, Marxist Thought and the City provides background and supplementary material to Lefebvre’s other works and marks a pivotal point in his evolution as a thinker.

Publisher website's

Henri Lefebvre (1901–1991) was a leading French philosopher, sociologist, and urban theorist. Many of his more than sixty books have appeared in English translation, including The Critique of Everyday Life, The Production of Space, and (all Minnesota) Dialectical Materialism; State, Space, World; and The Urban Revolution.

Robert Bononno has been a translator from French for more than twenty years. His recent nonfiction translations include Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment, by Henri Lefebvre (Minnesota, 2014), Speech Begins after Death, by Michel Foucault and Claude Bonnefoy (Minnesota, 2013), and Language, Madness, and Desire by Michel Foucault (Minnesota, 2015).

Stuart Elden is professor of political theory and geography at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.


This pithy, provocative little book brings Marxist humanism to bear on urban problems as pressing today as they were nearly half-a-century ago. Upsizing cities spell downsizing work, the coming of urban society announces the financialization of space, a crisis of industrial production begets a politics of urban reproduction—all with daunting threats as well as immanent possibilities. Dead for twenty-five years, old man Lefebvre lives on as our most visionary twenty-first-century urban thinker. —Andy Merrifield, author of Metromarxism, Magical Marxism, and The New Urban Question


Lefebvre’s work remains of enduring importance.—Stuart Elden, from the Foreword