Under the title Correspondence,[1] there will appear, in six volumes,[2] the letters by Guy Debord, of which he himself kept copies.

Others, which have been generously communicated to us (either by their addresses or those having the rights to them, or by the institutions to which they were confided for preservation), will complete them.

Several refusals due to dissensions that remain lively, vague reticences that are more or less justified,[3] destruction, but also pure and simple loss of this type of writing, have deprived us of letters, the number of which cannot be evaluated a priori. This lack is particularly tangible when it is a question of the years the furthest removed from when we envisioned beginning this publication.

We have thus decided to publish in Volume 1 the letters by Guy Debord from the foundation of the Situationist International at the First Conference at Cosio d'Arroscio (Italy) in July 1957 to the Fourth Conference, held in London in September 1960.

All the letters from the preceding period (the era of the Lettrist International) will be gathered together in the last volume, augmented by supplementary letters that are sent to us in the meantime.

So as to aid comprehension, succinct notes will be provided -- each time that there is need and to the extent of our own knowledge -- that will restore the facts and people in their historical context.[4] Each year will also be preceded by a chronological listing of the remarkable events.

This global correspondence, rich in information about the personality and active role that he played for over 40 years,[5] will thus take its place in the complete oeuvre of Guy Debord. It will perhaps orient differently the always growing number of biographers[6] pressed to draw hasty conclusions from all sorts of legends that have not failed to swirl around someone who was especially pleased to entertain a notoriously bad reputation.[7]

Alice Debord[8]

[1] Note that the author does not refer to this collection of volumes as the "complete correspondence" of Guy Debord. It seems that her recent experience with Jean-Francois Martos -- the author of On the Interdiction of My Correspondence with Guy Debord (September 1999) -- convinced her to drop this claim.

[2] As of this writing (August 2007), six volumes have already been published, but the full span of Guy Debord's life as a mature letter-writer (1957 to 1994) and the era of the Lettrist International (1952 to 1957) have not yet been covered. It thus appears that a seventh volume will be necessary.

(Note added December 2008: In April 2008, a seventh volume was published. It covers January 1988 to November 1994.)

[3] Author's note: Except for specific insulting letters, Guy Debord always kept towards those with whom he exchanged a correspondence -- and the proof will appear over the course of this publication -- an amicable tone that, with some people, was continued. Of those who nevertheless knew that a brutal and definitive cessation -- often without the least explanation -- marked the end of a relationship, many preferred to keep the veritable reasons mysterious.

[Translator's note: there are several things seriously wrong with these statements. First of all, they do not explain the complete absence from all six volumes published so far of the letters that Guy Debord addressed to Michele Bernstein, Jacqueline de Jong, Michele Mochot-Brehat and (last but not least) Alice Becker-Ho herself. We know from Christophe Boursellier's essay Guy Debord, or the Decline of the Day (2006) that Bernstein, de Jong and Mochot-Brehat refused Fayard the right to publish any of their letters. What sort of accusation is Alice Becker-Ho making against them? What sort of accusation is she making against herself? Second, these statements do not take account of the possibility that on at least two occasions -- the exclusions of Gil J Wolman from the Lettrist International in 1957 and the exclusion of Alexander Trocchi from the Situationist International in 1964 -- these instances of "brutal and definitive cessation" were either unexplainable and unjustified (Wolman) or subsequently revoked and apologized for (Trocchi). Third and last, we do not know how many of those brutally and definitively cut off "preferred to keep the veritable reasons mysterious." But we do know that Jean-Pierre Baudet (cut off in 1989) went public with the reasons for Debord's break with him, and these reasons seem quite flimsy, even paranoid.]

[4] If one refuses to publish all the letters sent to Debord -- note well that the author speaks of "those with whom he exchanged a correspondence" in footnote [3] above -- neither "succinct notes" nor very long notes can "restore the facts and people in their historical context." Or, rather, these notes can place these people to a "historical context," but that historical context will be completely falsified to the extent that these people have been silenced. For more along this line, see Jean-Francois Martos' On the Interdiction of My Correspondence with Guy Debord and Jean-Pierre Baudet's Signed X.

[5] Author's note: Guy Debord was 25 years old in 1957.

[6] When this text was written, eight biographies of Guy Debord had already been published: Anselm Jappe's Guy Debord (1993, in Italian; 1995 in French; 1999 in English); Philippe Sollers' The War of Taste (1994, in French); Cecile Guilbert's For Guy Debord (1996, in French); Len Bracken's Guy Debord: Revolutionary (1997, in English); Frederic Schiffer's Against Debord (1997, in French); Shigenobu Gonzalves' Guy Debord or the Beauty of the Negative (1998, in French); Jean-Marie Apostolides, The Tombs of Guy Debord (1999, in French); and Christophe Bourseiller's Life and Death of Guy Debord (1999, in French). Judging from two of the biographies published since 1999 -- Andrew Hussey's The Game of War (2001, in English) and Andy Merrifield's Guy Debord (2005, in English) -- the publication of Guy Debord Correspondence has not had the effects that Alice Becker-Ho hoped for.

[7] A reference to "Cette Mauvaise Reputation," a book by Guy Debord that was published in 1993.

[8] The name taken by Alice Becker-Ho (Guy Debord's widow) upon his suicide on 30 November 1994.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Volume I (June 1957-August 1960) Librarie Artheme Fayard, 13 October 1999. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! August 2007. Footnotes by the translator, except where noted.)

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