The Experience of Las Vegas

Bruce Bégout

Distribution by the University of Chicago Press only to customers in the USA and Canada. Customers elsewhere should visit the UK website of Reaktion Books.

Bruce Bégout

Distributed for Reaktion Books

144 pages | 6.15 x 9.25
Paper $19.95 ISBN: 9781861891761 Published December 2004 For sale in North and South America only
Las Vegas, an artificial city brought to life in the heart of the Mojave desert, is the ultimate urban temptation: its shopping malls, theme parks and casinos offer an unceasing parade of entertainments and diversions. Its architecture combines slick, commercial seduction with a childish, cartoon-like appearance; its streets and arcades are constantly animated with visitors and residents willingly submitting to the opium of this spectacular place.

Las Vegas has always fascinated those who write about the American malaise, from Tom Wolfe to J. G. Ballard, but Bégout reveals the city’s other side, adding a valuable philosophical dimension to the nightmarish, fantastic visions that haunt the imagination of novelists and film-makers. The author draws minutely detailed portraits in the form of city scenes – portraits that are often tragic and sometimes extremely comic. Bégout lets himself be dragged into this party, this "paradise for bastards", as Nick Tosches calls it.

For Bégout, Las Vegas is the consummation of the modern city, the ultimate destination of our urban experiments, the great supermarket of the global village. "Neither near nor far, neither here nor elsewhere, Las Vegas is distinguished by nothingness. For us it is zeropolis, the non-city that is the very first city, just as zero is the very first number."

"This is a real gem, as brilliant and remarkable as its subject"—Livres Hebdo

"Bégout felicitously combines the philosopher’s capacity for thinking with
the novelist’s descriptive power. A success."—Le Nouvel Observateur
Offerings to the Fun God
Graveyard of Signs
The Double-sided Face of Utopia
The Profusion of Resemblances
Behind the Scenes
Psychotropic Urbanity
Ghost Town
The Transfiguration of Beauty
Fiat Lux
Mass Ornament
Translating the Theme
From the Sublime to the Grotesque
Opening and Closing
Beyond Beauty and Ugliness
American Dream
Googie Style
The Conspiracy of Chance
Background Noise
Urban Monster or Future Normality?
Anything Goes
Leaving Las Vegas
Vegas Vicky
List of Photographs
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