from Guy Debord

To Anita Blanc
12 January 1990
Dear Anita:

Indeed, our paths cross again. And it will be necessary to react quickly to what has the air of a very dangerous insolence.

As I feared, [Malcolm] Imrie still hasn't acquired the rights to [The society of the] Spectacle. Could you perhaps telephone him to press the question? Otherwise, we risk being alone -- and still without a lawyer, I suppose -- if we fight against a very rich pirate,[1] who would truly like to practice the methods of gringo imperialism!

I think that, without risking a long wait for his response, you must immediately address to [Jonathan] Crary[2] a registered letter of this type:

"I must add to my letter of 5 January a precision that makes me think that you appear to be victims of impostors, which could explain the bizarre conduct of Editions Zone in this affair. Indeed, we have made contact with Mr Debord, who has told us that he knows nothing about Zone; that he has received a letter from a Mr Nicholson-Smith of New York, apparently back-dated to 5 December 1989; that he has not responded to this letter; and that he had previously known a Mr Nicholson-Smith, but that he hasn't been in contact with him for 23 years."[3]

The allusion to a representative from MIT makes me think that it will be necessary to clarify the role of Tom Levin in this affair. Quite strangely, he praised a publisher, this Kwinter, who had translated [Henri] Bergson, such brilliant modernism, and had done so precisely for his journal, Zone! I showed no interest in such exploits. In fact, it is necessary to understand that "my success" in America feeds many ambitions and maneuvers. Levin has certainly done much towards this success -- I suppose that he gave you a copy of the beautiful catalogue from Boston,[4] and, finally, it happened that he conceived the project of participating in diverse exploitations of the event, against us, and by associating with diverse American rip-off artists.

You can judge the astonishing casualness of Nicholson-Smith's very "Gueganist"[5] letter (return it to me). It is dated 5 December [1989], but posted on the 18th.

I will expect you on Monday the 22d.

Could you bring me a copy of On War?[6]


[1] Translator's note: Zone Books, distributed by the MIT Press, which sought to publish Nicholson-Smith's translation of Debord's The Society of the Spectacle without getting permission or securing translation rights from Editions Gerard Lebovici.

[2] Translator's note: of Zone Books.

[3] Translator's note: not since 1967, when Nicholson-Smith and several others in the British section of the SI were excluded from the organization.

[4] On the passage of several people through a short period of time, published by the MIT Press (Cambridge, MA) and the Institute for Contemporary Arts in Boston (MA), distributed by the MIT Press.

[5] Translator's note: Gerard Guegan. See letter dated 9 December 1974.

[6] Translator's note: by Carl von Clausewitz, translated from German into French by Jean-Pierre Baudet and published by Editions Gerard Lebovici.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 7: Janvier 1988-Novembre 1994 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2008. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! December 2008. Footnotes by the publisher, except where noted.)

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