from Guy Debord

To Jacques Simonelli
25 April 1991
Dear Sir:

I thank you for sending the copy of your Lacenaire,[1] and also for undertaking the work. The pure contrary of what has been published to date concerning his [Lacenaire's] truncated or apocryphal Memoires, your book is the first worthy of the subject.[2] You have excellently established the complete works of the hero, and his [subsequent] filiation in the suite of revolts against society and in those that concerned poetic troubles, up to Lautreamont and beyond. As for myself, I have been thrilled to be cited in such good company.

One can thus also suppose, where [Victor] Hugo is concerned, a recollection of the "Petition of a thief to a neighboring king" in The Punishments ("Tremble Paris, O sorrow, O misery") when he wants to overwhelm his Bonaparte II under the competing pretenders to his throne, who further their cause by several other assassinations: "I want, Lacenaire says / To be emperor and king."[3]

In sum, since the "eloquent worlds have been lost," no one has done so much to restore their veritable memory.

Quite cordially to you,
Guy Debord

[1] Published by Editions Jose Corti.

[2] Translator's note: see Michel Foucault's facile dismissal of Lacenaire and the "aesthetes of crime" in Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1975, translated by Alan Sheridan), pp. 283-285.

[3] Translator's note: see Greil Marcus, Lipstick Traces on a Cigarette (1989), quoting from the song "World Destruction": "Afrika Bambaataa: 'Who wants to be / A president or king?' John Lydon: 'Me!'" (p. 90).

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

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