from Guy Debord

To Gianfranco Sanguinetti
28 October [19]71
Dear Gianfranco:

Incipit vita nova [Begins a new life]

The return was more comfortable than the preceding voyage: one slept.

Here, all goes well, despite the presence of Brezhnev.[1] But Paris is always gray and exhausted; and the memory of all the delicacies of Toscany leave us even more tired of the old capital of the SI, and reinforces our intention to become Florentines, as soon as possible.

There have been eighty letters sent to the P.O. Box, generally of weak interest. I send to you those that come from Italy. There is also news -- from Prigent,[2] in England -- of a friend (Carsten) imprisoned in Ulster. Concerning the [Mario] Perniola project, it would be good to respond that Silva has already undertaken it, and is going to press with it. But perhaps it is necessary to be assured of this first? Try to reach Silva by telephone. Christopher Gray[3] had the lack of awareness to write me, very amicably, so as to propose to me an affair of the same type in England. Furthermore, I hear that Alex Trocchi[4] is more or less dead.

Despite what you might fear from the second letter from Jean-Pierre,[5] my book [The Society of the Spectacle] has still not been confiscated. Buchet only threatens to do so, rather than take action; and, moreover, it is too late for a confiscation to hurt us. It seems that the thing sells itself (twenty-five copies re-stocked by bookstores every day; twenty-five copies more per week at the Cluny newsstand, of which we have control once more). [Gerard] Lebovoci thus appears very happy, and without doubt moves quickly towards the cinematic version (he hopes to include in it an Italian!).

I have said to Jean-Pierre that the budget must be increased, my salary must be raised from five to six million Lira, a small salary for the two producers -- [Jean-Jacques] Raspuad and him -- must be added, and a salary for you must also be included. In reviewing certain other chapters, I come to think that one must push this mediocre budget to sixty-five or seventy million Lira, which is more serious if one addresses oneself to the bankers of Italy and will give the less-rich people who aren't quite pressed (Lebovici and company) something to think about; because, if the film isn't realized in the next year, my price will rise to more considerable proportions.

Try to set the moment of Jean-Pierre's voyage as soon as possible. He fears that an impersonal organism, such as a bank, will not want to become involved without having a scenario or synopsis. With your help, perhaps, he can show that the general documentation is much more definite than a "scenario." In any case, the fact that I only film in complete liberty and without furnishing in advance any plan to anyone is a feature of my exceptional talent. Moreover, such a circumstance is less strange than it was ten years ago; and the book is to a large extent the equivalent of a scenario (apparently impossible to transcribe into film . . . ).

In several days I will send to you my project "Theses on the SI."[6]

I hope that, in your palazzo, you can soon advance the editing of your book, for which I have begun to make a certain verbal publicity. But it seems to me that the most important and most urgent tasks are not losing from view the admirable Celeste and helping her in the difficulties[7] that will not fail to accumulate. Alice wrote to her yesterday (copy attached, we don't know if the original will reach her).

I have already sent you in a single package the two Bernsteins[8] and the President of Brosses [Charles de Brosses];[9] as well as, in a single envelop, several [publicity] posters from Van Gennep. In about two days the other books will go out.

(The Institue of Lamargelle[10] resumes the importation into France of the Van Gennep [reissue of the complete run of Internationale Situationniste], for which the pseudo-A.I.T.* had been responsible; thus one thinks that Van Gennep will proceed with the printing to the satisfaction of all.)

Thank you for everything during our charming Tuscan visit. Our regards to your also charming mother and to your very likable brothers.

See you soon,

* Miserable [Rene] Riesel has indeed transfered to me the money that was already available. One can thus believe that he also will return that of Van Gennep.

[1] Visit of Leonid Brezhnev to France from 25 to 30 October 1971.

[2] Michel Prigent. [Translator: Prigent was the first to translate La Veritable Scission into English.]

[3] Cf. Correspondance, vol. III, p. 148, note 1. [Translator: Gray was a member of the short-lived British section of the SI in 1967.]

[4] Cf. Correspondance, vol. I, p. 19, note 1. [Translator: Trocchi didn't die until 1984.]

[5] Jean-Pierre Voyer. [Translator: Voyer was the co-producer of the film version of The Society of the Spectacle.]

[6] "Theses on the Situationist International and Its Time," the central text of The Veritable Split [in the International].

[7] A minor [16 years old], Celeste was placed under protective surveillance.

[8] The two novels by Michele Bernstein (All the King's Horses and The Night).

[9] Journal of the voyage in Italy.

[10] Jean-Pierre Voyer's Institute of Contemporary Prehistory.

(Published in Guy Debord, Correspondance, Volume 4, 1969-1972. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted. Translated from the French and, where necessary, from the Italian by NOT BORED! July 2005. A few corrections made March 2014.)

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