from Guy Debord

To Malcolm Imrie
Champot, 9 October 1991
Dear Malcolm:

I have just received the check from Verso [Books] and I thank you for your valiant efforts in arbitrating the matter.[1] But I believe that it is useless to thank the other responsible parties for their delays, nor for the difficulties of capitalism, which does not depend upon their merits,[2] nor in short for the efficiency of their "management" of contemporary critical thought![3]

The proofs[4] appear to me to be composed in typographical characters of very good taste. I have confidence in the proofreaders that you mention for [catching] the typographical errors. As for the translation, I responded my best to the questions that were posed to me.[5] I must intervene no further in what is uniquely the responsibility of the translator. Furthermore, I am unfit to judge what would not be suitable in a foreign language, except perhaps Spanish.[6]

Continue to write me in Champot, I beg you: I will pass this autumn and a large part of the winter here. And, from Champot, the mail follows me, wherever I go. I have now left the Parisian address of la rue du Bac.

The neo-Lebovici bastards are notoriously in the process of liquidation, and will not rise again, I beg you to believe.

I have learned with pleasure that you are a specialist in Sade. We will speak of it at our next meeting.[7] Et in Arcadia ego . . .[8]


[1] Translator's note: this entire volume of Debord's letters, which doesn't include any of the letters that were sent to Debord, contains no other reference to this delay or dispute.

[2] Translator's note: the French phrase used here, qui dependent pas de leur merites, can also mean "which their merits do not belong to."

[3] Translator's note: the French word used twice in this paragraph, remercier, can mean both "to thank" and "to dismiss," as in the American expression "Thanks, but no thanks." This doubleness places the sincerity of Debord's appreciation of Imrie's efforts into question. There certainly seems to be a tone of malevolence in Debord's pleasantry. Why would he equivocate? Because he was displeased with Verso Books' rejection of Bounan's The Time of AIDS. See Debord's letter to Bounan dated 30 May 1991, which says that Malcolm Imrie's associate Donald Nicholson-Smith is "employed by the network of disinformation that specializes in the treatment of advanced critique." In this new letter, "management" has replaced "treatment," but the implication is the same: Malcolm Imrie works for people who are threatened by and need to recuperate social critique (such as Debord's).

[4] Translator's note: of Panegyric.

[5] Translator's note: see letter dated 4 April 1991, which precisely emphasized the doubleness of argot expressions.

[6] Translator's note: an odd remark. Debord was also fluent in Italian and (more to point in this instance) French argot.

[7] Translator's note: it isn't clear if or when the two men ever met.

[8] "I have also lived in Arcadia." [Translator: "I too have enjoyed the pleasures of life."]

(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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