from Guy Debord

To Malcolm Imrie
19 November 1990
Dear Malcolm Imrie:

With respect to the pretensions that the scoundrels at Zone Books [still] conserve, it seems to me that any "co-edition" would be unfavorable for Verso, and, on my side, I would not accept it in any fashion. It is true that Balestrini[1] has found a fortunate formula, which is all the more opportune in Italy, where at least five translations of Spectacle are or were present on the market: a single one was correct,[2] which Balestrini has reprinted. A contrario, I believe that, in the past, Verso was wrong to worry about the presence of the Detroit edition, which is in all regards a pure nothingness.[3]

Concerning Panegyric, which is really very complex, if the American translator[4] appears serious to you, you can communicate to him my address. I will help him if he can be helped.

I regret that you encounter the difficulties to which you alluded. The epigraph from Sun Tzu[5] truly indicates the best fashion of surmounting diverse sorts of difficulties, or at least up to the end of battle.

In any case, I hope to meet you in the not-too-distant future. Amicably,


[1] Nanni Balestrini, editor of Editions SugarCo, which published [Italian translations of] The Society of the Spectacle and Comments on the Society of the Spectacle in a single volume.

[2] Translator's note: the translation made by the ex-situationist Paolo Salvadori. See Debord's letter to Salvadori dated 16 April 1973.

[3] Translator's note: No, the Black & Red translation of The Society of the Spectacle is in fact better than the one made by Donald Nicholson-Smith and eventually published by Zone Books.

[4] James Brook.

[5] The epigraph that begins Comments on the Society of the Spectacle: "However critical the situation and circumstances in which you find yourself, despair of nothing; it is on the occasions in which everything is to be feared that it is necessary to fear nothing; it is when one is surrounded by all the dangers that it is not necessary to dread any; it is when one is without resources that it is necessary to count on all of them; it is when one is surprised that it is necessary to surprise the enemy himself."

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 7: Janvier 1988-Novembre 1994 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2008. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! January 2009. Footnotes by the publisher, except where noted.)

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