from Guy Debord

To Mustapha Khayati
Thursday [13 October 1966]
Dear Mustapha:

The first part [of On the Poverty of Student Life] is good. The argumentation is at a fitting level and the violence of the tone is also what it should be. If all can be made thus, and effectively thrown in front of the public, it seems to me that the blow will be sensational.

Correct the style a little, make it more rigorous. In several places it is necessary for the phrases to be shorter and more concentrated. I have placed several notes on the verso. Is Theo [Frey] with you? He has a good way of handling concise and decisive formulas, as he demonstrated in our communal editing of the "Address"[1] and in his recent article.[2]

Your plan is good. I will think of titles for the three sections.

It would be good to have a "comics-preface," which could be distributed as a tract or poster, but distinct from the pamphlet. These comics must be inspired by a beautiful mixture of cynicism and theoretical allusions, which is successful in Raoul [Vaneigem]'s "comics."

I am completely opposed to illustrations in the pamphlet. There is certainly enough material to make excellent ones, but it would be necessary to have a lot of time to get the documents and, especially, to have their "editorial" use be sufficiently coherent. I believe that the best third -- or fourth -- of the illustrations that we have published as counterpoints to the texts in I.S. have constituted the most difficult part of our expression to be adopted by our external friends, even those who have understood our theses. And the neo-Strasbourgeois are quite far from this. In this chapter -- which is supposedly more cheery and easy -- everyone will want to put in a word or two, and you will be obliged, I fear, to accept details that will weaken the ensemble. (When I said "be adopted," I meant to develop this usage, and not literally reproduce our illustrations or others in a spirit that is too close to what has already been done.)

You will already have had good luck if you can succede in having the whole text -- and its printing -- at this level and in the required period of time.

As for printers, I know none except for Bogaert, whom it is obviously necessary to leave out of this,[3] and several others at whose shops I cannot reappear. It is necessary that one of those responsible come to Paris (because it is probable that in your province all of the printers will refuse due to fear of scandal), with 1,000 or 2,000 Francs from the U.N.E.F.-Strasbourg in hand, and find a printer here among those who print all of the habitual yarns of the Left (for example, the Polyglot Impressions, which, I believe, is on the rue de Charonne). At the same time, this same person can bring me what they must give to us.

Think about delays: a printer will ask for about a month -- if not more -- to execute all of the work. When must the power of this A.G.[4] change hands?

Guard against the fact that, in an affair of this kind, the people who aren't truly resolved to see the realization of their pleasantries in all of their consequences will waste time, make you waste time and, afterwards, state with relief that it is too late.

I would have written to you that the English[5] announced to me that they would arrive tomorrow; but they have already arrived. My first impression is very good: they have brought with them a French friend of David,[6] who I threw out the door on the spot and, after this cold introduction, we brought the question of our relations up for discussion. I would like to say to you that we will meet Saturday at 3 pm at Michele [Bernstein]'s place (but, given the time, I think that my letter will only arrive on Saturday morning). I do not believe that it is necessary that one of you [from Strasbourg] come [to Paris], because the affair in progress in Strasbourg is much more urgent and important.

Perhaps there will be (through Francoise) a room to rent on 15 October, in the 8th arrondissement, quite close to what we discussed, 25,000 bucks per month (plus two months deposit). Are you interested?


[1] "Address to the revolutionaries of Algeria and all countries."

[2] "Perspectives for a generation" (cf. I.S. #10, p. 33).

[3] Translator: Bogaert was the printer used for Internationale Situationniste. The SI owed him money.

[4] Translator: Student government.

[5] Christopher Gray and Charles Radcliffe.

[6] David Arnott.

(Published in Guy Debord, Correspondance, Volume 3, 1965-1968. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! August 2005.)

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