from Guy Debord

To Gerard Lebovici
Champot, 12 November [1979]
Dear Gerard:

Renaud's book will be good.[1] Without Music is a good title. But perhaps it would be better with the more explicit title Songs Without Music? But certainly not Rolpa sans zikmu,[2] which curls too much. I return the manuscript to you with a minimum of punctuation, completely absent in many texts.

The article[3] about [Complete] Cinematographic Works is remarkable in many respects. First of all, at Champ Libre, we are all about classics. We are completely emancipated from the vulgarities of current events. A journalist can thus speak of one of these books, as if he encountered it by chance and bought it at an intelligent bookstore, one year or three centuries after its publication. The Declaration in the catalogue for 1979[4] has obviously begun to produce its dialectical effect: now, one cites it. This Serguine, on the basis of a self-deprecation like that of Manchette,[5] and no doubt well founded, addresses to me the first praises that I have ever seen in the press; bizarre but considerable praises, since the arkwardness of his pen has caused him, I believe, to let it be understood that I have totally changed the world! However, the spirit of the century still appears to me to rule quite serenely, since this critic writes about a [mere] book and the only thing that he actually said was that he likes my photo.

The victory of Thierry-the-Terrible[6] is properly unexpected. It arises from the old law of strategy that establishes that, in any battle, whatever the mediocrities of the talents of each camp, it is quite necessary that there is one that wins. I only regret the year-long delay of Homage to Catalonia[7] (at least it can be announced in the Champ Libre catalogue for 1981).

I believe that, with Renaud and Catalonia, the history of Champ Libre enters into a new period, which will greatly increase the fear and discord among the enemy. Do not forget the publicity for the next issue of Nature and Progress.[8] The issue coming out gives the impression of a growing success of the movement and thus of no doubt the journal, too, which -- through a discovery that is in its economic interests, but which is also clever ideologically -- is now printed on recycled paper.

Would it be possible to obtain the Testament of Mesrine,[9] to be published in the genre of the "Incontrolado"[10]? Perhaps Champ Libre could hire Sabrina[11] as a secretary? She recently declared that her [last] name has gotten her fired from several jobs. Have you seen Pelletier? What does Hebey say?[12]

Has the hour of kriegspiel[13] sounded? I must have three or four carats so as to live in Arles, where I have found a charming house. I would like to re-establish myself in an urban milieu, where one still exists, so as to pass part of the year somewhere else than our wild mountains. Thus, next year I would like to have from Champ Libre a check totaling 120,000 francs and I would need it in the first few days of January. The following year, taxes will bleed me, but it is impossible to avoid them. I hope that, on your side, this will not trouble you too much.

I await the proofs for the "Incontrolado." Do we finally have "The Complaint of Mesrine"?[14]

Best wishes,

P.S. Can you find for me, at the Spanish bookstore in Paris, the poetical works of Jorge Manrique (1440-1479)?[15] I imagine that the task will be difficult, but in case of success one has the opportunity to embellish the Khayyam-Li Po series.

[1] Without Music [Sans Zikmu], which would be published in January 1980 by Editions Champ Libre.

[2] Words Without Music (in back slang).

[3] Article by Jacques Serguine in The Literary Magazine of October 1979.

[4] Translator's note: which announced there would be no complimentary copies for the press. In translation here.

[5] Translator's note: Jean-Patrick Manchette.

[6] Mr Thierry Levy.

[7] By George Orwell, the rights to which Champ Libre obtained with the agreement of his widow.

[8] Bulletin of an association for organic agriculture.

[9] Hunted by the police since his escape from La Sante prison on 8 May 1971, Jacques Mesrine was riddled with bullets by the anti-gang brigade at porte de Clignancourt, in 2 November 1979. A sound recording was seized from his home.

[10] Protest to the Libertarians of the Present and the Future on the Capitulations of 1937, by an "Uncontrollable" of the Iron Column, published in December 1979. [Translator's note: in addition to translating this work into French (with Alice Becker-Ho), Debord also wrote a short preface for it.]

[11] Daughter of Jacques Mesrine.

[12] Mr Jean-Louis Pelletier, one of Jacques Mesrine's attorneys.

[13] Translator's note: Cabinet game invented by Guy Debord.

[14] It was suggested to Renaud Sechan to compose an homage to Jacques Mesrine.

[15] Whose Coplas por la muerte de su padre by Guy Debord.

(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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