from Guy Debord

To the current proprietors of Editions Gerard Lebovici
Mr Nicolas Lebovici and Mr Lorenzo Valentine
Paris, 4 February 1991[1]

I have fortuitously discovered on the back cover of a re-edition of The Society of the Spectacle currently on sale (no one alerted me) a preface newly added without my consent.[2] This preface, which I wrote years ago, figured in the first edition of this book in 1971, and in all the reprints that soon after followed. Nevertheless, it is quite well known that, shortly thereafter, this preface was suppressed by a shared agreement between Gerard Lebovici and I; because it had become useless due to the [subsequent] celebrity of the book. It had thus been consistently absent from the many subsequent editions. Beyond the unacceptable off-handedness of such an abuse of confidence, the arbitrary reappearance of this explanatory notice, become so manifestly archaic after twenty years' time, is of a nature to quite obviously injure the reputation of a work that has been entrusted to your publishing house for so long, when it was managed by your parents.[3]

Thus I summon you to withdraw immediately from the market and destroy your falsified edition under the supervision of an officer [un huissier].

Moreover, I have read in the Livres Hebdo of 15 January that you have fraudulently announced the publication of volume II of Panegyric on 21 February. On 11 December [1990], I gave to Gerard Voitey, in a disordered pile, the photographic documents and a certain number of texts, intended for an illustrated album that would be inserted in the series of volumes of Panegyric. I obviously needed to make the montage of these documents (after the printer had executed the proofs and negatives) according to a plan that I alone possess. Yesterday I received a pseudo-pagination of photocopies of only my photographic documents. The author of this laughable delusion simply tried to guide himself with the arbitrary numbering of the documents, which had been provisionally marked for the printer only. Thus, since the beginning of December, the documents to be turned into negatives and the texts to be composed were never transmitted to the printer; I have not been advised of anything; and, at the same time, the professional press has been falsely informed of the imminent publication of a book that, due to your fault alone, does not yet exist. Such facts, which I believe to be without precedent when it comes to a publishing house that was for a long time quite real and always honest, are detrimental to me in general and especially the series of my Panegyrics. You have tried to compose an imaginary book against the wishes of the author; then, following the very logic of mendacious advertising and provocation, you have wanted the non-existence of your invention ascertained; but this in this malicious intention of attributing to the author the responsibility for your own deliberate defection.

I ask you communicate to me in the shortest possible time all of the excuses and compensations that you think that I might still accept the value of, after having suffered such grave professional lapses. If your failures continue a moment longer, I will have recourse to all the legal remedies, as I also obviously reserve for myself the right to bring these facts and their meanings to the attention of the public. The poor melange of imbecilic lies and financial falsifications (intended to be profitable) by which one has undertaken to destroy Editions Gerard Lebovici begins to be indicated to me. Without too much discomfort, you have taken on the dangerous responsibility of wanting to dishonor your respectable parents. But pay more attention to my conclusions.

Guy Debord

[1] Sent by registered mail.

[2] Translator's note: though the text of this letter says piece jointe, no text was attached or summarized by the publisher of this collection of Debord's letters.

[3] Translator's note: Gerard and Floriana Lebovici.

(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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