from Guy Debord

To Gerard Lebovici
11 June 1980
Dear Gerard:

Thank you for the Guillaume,[1] which I read immediately with much pleasure: a very appealing person and a very scrupulous author, despite several quite excusable partialities. The writer of the preface was honest and instructive. He established in passing that Arthur Lehning[2] unquestionably masperized[3] a letter (from Cesar de Paepe[4]) in his edition of Bakunin published by Bourgois.[5] This stroke puts the final touch on the portrait, which each time we have sketched out more precisely, of the infamous Arthur. There is no longer any need to search for reasons for the hostility -- towards us, towards Nettlau -- on the part of the anarchist at Oxford and the historian at [Editions] 10/18. The minor bureaucrat De Jong[6] has already avenged us for this old, maladroit maneuver, and it is the only vengeance that can hurt him.

I send you a letter from Grenoble (comparable to another that I received last year from Dijon, I believe). Obviously, we cannot accept, and I even believe that it is not necessary to respond. But this poses a real problem, nevertheless. The unfortunate film[7] of which we have not spoken for some time, and certainly not without good reasons, might finally have the appearance of not existing if no one has ever seen it and if one cannot even respond to any individual who has the impertinence to demand it from me. What to do? How can we exit from this extreme and so nobly accepted clandestinity that, in this case, will even take on a suspicious appearance in the eyes of the ignorant?

I ask you to send as soon as possible, on my tab, the books on the attached list[8] to an interesting Greek, who has published a translation of my Preface[9] and who is now working on a Greek translation of the [Society of the] Spectacle, which would be -- he has informed me -- the third Greek edition and, in keeping with the international average, the first readable one.

You see that Berger-Levrault & Co.[10] have gone back into business and that they now are leaping on Admiral Mahan.[11] So much the worse! There are many others for them to seize if Champ Libre has not taken the initiative or, more probably, they will have to wait five or ten years to recover their old vocation. Keep guard of Napier:[12] only their extraordinary lack of culture pushes them to momentarily nourish their "Strategies" collection (another one!) with the texts of Machiavelli that are so accessible in the Pleiade.

I imagine that the Sexby[13] is going well. Send me several copies when you have them.

I have that the treasury of Champ Libre is at present a little more officially presentable, because I must still ask you for a check for 60,000 f, for the same reasons as before. Would you like to come to Champot in July? Tell me the date. On the other hand, if it suits you to pass some time here with Floriana [Lebovici] and the boys now or at another moment during the [summer] vacation, we can comfortably lodge them in another house,[14] [since] the young people love independence. And I would like to meet them one day, hoping not to disappoint them as Renaud did. With respect to Renaud, all the people whom I have met in Arles are completely demystified: it is true that they have all read the back cover of the book.[15]

Best wishes,

[1] James Guillaume (1844-1946), founder of the Locle (Swiss Jura) section of the International and partisan of Bakunin. His book The International: Documents and Memories would be reprinted by Editions Champ Libre in 1985, with a preface by Max Vuilleumier.

[2] Arthur Lehning, ex-director of the International Institute for Social History of Amsterdam and the editor of the [collected] works of Bakunin.

[3] Translator's note: adjectivization of the name of the Maspero publishing house. Connotes "bowdlerization."

[4] One of the founders of the Brussels section of the International who became a theoretician of anarchist collectivization.

[5] Mikhail Bakunin and the Others, by Arthur Lehning.

[6] See letter dated 27 November 1969.

[7] In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni, completed in 1978.

[8] Translator's note: not attached in the version being translated here.

[9] Translator's note: Preface to the Fourth Italian Edition of "The Society of the Spectacle."

[10] Publisher of military books.

[11] Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914), born in West Point, author of The Influence of Sea Power on History, 1660-1783.

[12] General W.F.P. Napier, History of the War of the Peninsula, which would be published by Editions Champ Libre in 1983.

[13] Edward Sexby, Killing is not Assassinating (Editions Champ Libre, 1980).

[14] Intermediate house owned by Alice's brother.

[15] Sans Zikmu (Editions Champ Libre, 1980).

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 6: Janvier 1979-Decembre 1987 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2006. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! April 2007. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted.)

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