from Guy Debord

To Gerard Guegan
Paris, 18 December 1973
Dear Guegan:

Upon returning from Paris, I found your letter of 3 December -- thus your package of the excellent recent publications of Champ Libre, for which I thank you.

[Gerard] Lebovici has spoken to me of the proposition for a Middle-Eastern edition [of The Society of the Spectacle]. In principle, I am naturally a partisan of translation into these languages, as much as all the others. But the proposition, such as it has been presented, seems bizarre, and even harebrained, and is evocative of a practical joke or mythomania. It is for you to judge the seriousness of the individual.[1] And since he somewhat enjoys the financiers, the criteria is simple: the financiers are serious when they pay.

Finding translators is only a technical problem, although difficult enough. But I do not see how one can ask you, to ask your publisher, to find other publishers for financial aid, which would suppose the constitution of a kind of consortium of three publishers, plus the individual in question. It seems to me that the only slightly realistic formula -- if the word "realistic" is not excessive for a project of this nature -- would be to offer to this individual, as a counterpart to his financial contribution, a large portion of the print-run if he believes he himself can organize the distribution, in a more or less revolutionary way, in the countries that would be concerned. And to publish on your own the two boks in the kind of series of "foreign language editions" that we have already envisioned with respect to the German edition of the Spectacle.

But in case this individual does not propose to do anything other than furnish the money, it would be better to advise him to find Arab and Israeli publishers on his own by offering them the money of which he speaks. And you can simply cede them the rights, as with any other publishers, on the condition that the translations are good. Beyond these two directions, I believe that what one proposes to you -- in good faith or not -- is an impossible task. You worry me by evoking a document that I must sign and return to you. This reminds me of nothing so much as our collective withdrawal in the Buchet affair[2] and that thing was of an extreme urgency. I sent this document, signed, to Lebovici at the rue Marbeuf address the same day that I received it. This was in the first days of November. I hope that it has not been lost, and that you can now reassure me where this is concerned.

Quite cordially,
Guy Debord

[1] Translator's note: it seems that this person is someone other than Gerard Lebovici.

[2] Translator's note: Buchet was the first publisher of The Society of the Spectacle. Debord was forced to break his contract with this house and, in response, they sued. Debord eventually won.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 5: Janvier 1973-Decembre 1978 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2005. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! March 2007.)

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