from Guy Debord

To Malcolm Imrie
2 March 1991
Dear Malcolm Imrie:

Attached is a possible "blurb."[1]

These American journalists are strangely disinformed. I truly do not see how there could be a reciprocal influence between me and extravagant Baudrillard.[2] I once met him for several minutes, while between two doors; I did not say a single word to him; I have never read him. Only for the last few years has he been recounting to journalists that he had been a situationist. But this is obviously a mendacious pretension: the idiot had been a Maoist.

I find the fact that the droll people of the rue saint-Suplice[3] currently allow themselves to refuse Verso [Books] a good translation [of Panegyric] due to miserable questions concerning money to be just as serious as their other exploits; and yet they have impudently accepted the fact that a translation of the Comments [on the Society of the Spectacle] was published in Italy without being submitted to me!

I rejoice at the idea of seeing you here in a month, slightly more. And I hope that you will also bring Sadie Plant.[4]


Guy Debord was born in Paris in 1931. After running the journal Internationale Situationniste, he published The Society of the Spectacle in 1967. In 1988 he added the Comments on the same subject. In 1989 he wrote Panegyric, which is the first part of a complete autobiography.

(from the book)

"All my life I have only seen troubled times, extreme splits in society, and immense destruction; I have taken part in these troubles. No doubt such circumstances will suffice to prevent the most transparent of my actions or my arguments from ever being universally accepted [...]

"My method will be very simple. I will say what I have loved; and, in this light, all the rest will be seen and quite sufficiently understood."[5]

[1] Translator's note: for Panegyric volume I, which would be published by Verso Books in 1991.

[2] Jean Baudrillard, a sociologist. [Translator: author of several books about "simulation" that claimed that Debord's theory of the spectacle was no longer relevant, Baudrillard was Henri Lefebvre's graduate assistant and a member of the Maoist/pro-situ group Utopia in the 1960s.]

[3] Translator's note: Nicolas Lebovici and Lorenzo valentine, inheritors of Editions Gerard Lebovici, which was located on the rue Saint-Sulpice in Paris.

[4] Translator's note: author of The Most Radical Gesture: the Situationist International in a Postmodern Age (Taylor & Francis, 1997) and supposedly a merciless beauty, at least in the eyes of Malcolm Imrie.

[5] Translator's note: these are two passages from the first chapter of Debord's Panegyric, Volume I. James Brooks' translation, published by Verso in 1991, is slightly different:

All my life I have seen only troubled times, extreme divisions in society, and immense destruction; I have joined in these troubles. Such circumstances would no doubt suffice to prevent the most transparent of my acts or thoughts from ever being universally approved.

My method will be very simple. I will tell of what I have loved; and, in this light, everything else will be evident and make itself well enough understood.

(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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