from Guy Debord

To Floriana Lebovici
24 October 1988
Dear Floriana:

I hope that you will pardon me for importuning you before you are completely free of medical difficulties and with respect to a trifle.

I watched Polac and his barons.[1] I sense that certain mediatic[2] maneuvers could, perhaps, lead to the excess of awarding me by surprise -- in the obvious hope of making me ridiculous -- some literary prize of mediocre scope (as one already threatened me at the end of 1968 with a "Sainte-Beuve"; I avoided it by threatening the jury with violence).[3] And in such a case -- that is to say, the thing having been made without asking us for our opinion or ignoring it -- I believe that we must now not respond at all: not even to formulate a refusal. Indeed, I am not an artist in the manner of Julien Gracq[4] and we are no longer in 1952. Their pure and tranquil ignorance of our contempt will suffice. I must no longer respond to the mediatics; and this for the same reasons that you stated so well when you concluded that we must no longer explain anything to Thierry Levy![5]

What do you think of this strategic calculation? (Or what would be better?) Will you authorize me, in such a case, fortunately improbable, to give to Anita [Blanc] such instructions?

Furthermore, I have belatedly found and read volume 13 of the Encyclopedia of Nuisances. It is very good and even shows progress. I do not know if the Encyclopedists have finally responded to the proposition that you made to them[6] and that would assuredly be the best solution by far: just, truthful. But in case the authors might feel themselves constrained to not allow it, exactly because they consider it indispensable to hide several faults in their "militant" practice, my general impression is that a publisher must avoid making a casus belli against a publication that has had such rare qualities.

Thinking that we might see you soon, we embrace you in advance with joy.


[1] [Michel Polac] speaking of the Comments on the Society of the Spectacle, a sequence that would be used in 1994 for the opening credits of the film Guy Debord, son art et son temps.

[2] Translator's note: there is no English equivalent for mediatique, which evokes not just the "media" but the "spectacular," as well.

[3] Translator's note: See letter to Buchet dated 4 December 1968.

[4] Translator's note: Julien Gracq (1910-2007) was a French surrealist who attacked literary prizes.

[5] Translator's note: Thierry Levy was the lawyer employed by Debord in the aftermath of the murder of Floriana's husband, Gerard Lebovici.

[6] To publish the entirety of their volumes.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 7: Janvier 1988-Novembre 1994 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2008. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! October 2008. Footnotes by the publisher, except where noted.)

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