Why is Lefebvre sometimes Lefèbvre?

I’ve just seen this again – where does the spelling Lefèbvre for Henri Lefebvre come from? I have all but three of his books in French, and it’s not on them. His biographer Rémi Hess doesn’t use it. Lefebvre himself didn’t sign his name that way. So why does it appear in English writing on Lefebvre? I’ve seen it more than a few times…

(On the signature front, when I was a PhD student, I found a copy of the Lefebvre and Guterman collection of Hegel’s writings dedicated to Jean-Paul Sartre from Lefebvre. At the time I didn’t have €100… I suspect the price was more to do with Sartre than Lefebvre. The book on the left cost me about €7 some years later, so I don’t feel too bad.)

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4 Responses to Why is Lefebvre sometimes Lefèbvre?

  1. jboydus says:

    I have a feeling it may have something to do with the German publisher Suhrkamp (formerly based in Frankfurt). They pretty consistently (mis)spelled his name that way in the German translations of his works they published, for instance in their three-volume edition of the Critique (which actually contains only vols. 1–2).

  2. stuartelden says:

    Thanks – that’s helpful. I have seen it in German texts, so it may well be the source.

  3. Dean says:

    Interesting that you bring this up. I remember reading a Swedish colleague’s paper that mentioned Lefebvre, whose name she spelled with the grave accent. When I corrected her and said Lefebvre contains no accent, she insisted that I was using an Anglophone spelling, not the French! Like you, I had never seen the accent used on any of the French editions, so I was baffled by her remark.

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