from Guy Debord

To Editions Gerard Lebovici[1]
[January 1988]

"Retroactive" observation with respect to the first page. I think it must say "revised and completed." This is the usual term, and it is stronger than "augmented."

I have not corrected the multiple translator's notes, which must be replaced by editor's notes.

I have marked the mistakes or problems a to n.

Book III, und so weiter.[2]

a) p. 6, last line: "almost everyone anticipated or guessed, [...][3] the conviction . . ."

b) p. 9, "to reach the rear" cannot be translated by "pursue" but by "escaped the control of Daun (by proceeding to a position that his front did not cover)".

c) p. 29, in the note concerning Farnese (an Italian in the service of Spain), he cannot be "retaken by the Spanish." Perhaps "restored to the Spanish" or "reconquered by the S[panish]"?

d) p. 55, "in detail" is better than "separately," because Bluecher's army certainly fought "separately" (with respect to Schwarzenberg's army), but it fought in detail, id est in three fractions. Likewise, "pitched battle" is better opposed to the successive battles against these groupings of a single army on the march than "general battle" (which here still evokes the possible presence of "the Army of Boheme").

e) p. 56, 1757? The Great Vote? It was 1657, no doubt.

f) p. 59, would it not be necessary to leave the Greek word, between parentheses, after "a denomination meaning the ruse"? Or would it be better to put in the same place, between parentheses, the French adaptation "stratagem"?

g) p. 68, "it is in the flow of combat." It would be better to say "in the very course of combat."

h) p. 77, it is absolutely necessary to replace "in all cases" because its current obsessional use in the language of the spectacle has interdicted any true usage.

i) on pages 112-114, the reasoning doesn't have the usual clarity.

j) p. 123, six lines from the end. Replace "backside" with "rear" so as to unify it with the other passages (it is a term from the 20th century, as opposed to one from the 19th).

k) p. 161, I do not understand note xx: "The calculation, to be victorious. . ."?

l) p. 193, and in the rest of the same chapter: "night combat" is the technical term in military writings. To say "nocturne" would be an unfortunate weakening.

m) p. 196, "its backside." Same observation as on p. 123.

n) p. 212, note. In place of "the French were in excess," say: "had superior numbers."

o) p. 259, why change the old French expression "he went to war" [il part en guerre] since it was "in French in the text"?

p) p. 273, note xxx. To unify the tone with that of Vatry,[4] it would be better to say: "so that his army instantaneously began to fight."

q) p. 327, your correction, "progression," absolutely doesn't fit, due to its cheerfully operational side. It is a question of Russia's retreat, which led to the disastrous dissolution of the whole army. I propose: "from the trudging of the French, so as to return to Moscow on the Nieman."

Book VI

r) p. 23, editor's note. I believe that one must cite the two German terms for "concentric" and "excentric," so that the note brings the reader to recall that Clausewitz wrote in German, which has nothing unexpected about it. And that Vatry understood it as a whole, which is evident in the entire book.

s) p. 167, "these last had nothing to find in it." The expression seems bizarre and abrupt to me. I would prefer "had nothing to do there" or perhaps "had nothing good to expect there."

t) p. 188, "absolutely direct" (the accent here is placed on direct) is better than "absolute," which C[lausewitz] employed elsewhere in a completely different sense (by opposing it to relative defense).

u) p. 193, the "Hussar constantly brandishes his saber above . . ." This is a celebrated phrase and often quoted (it is slightly equivalent to a phrase from Hegel: "The enthusiasm that, like a pistol shot, begins immediately with Absolute Knowledge"). Thus, one must not say his head, but his talpack, the presumed Prussian coiffure of the Hussar. Nevertheless, this word was little known in French, and now is no longer known (it was in Larousse, but only as the coiffure of Napoleon's mounted hunters). I believe that it would be better to "Frenchify" the formula by saying: "above his busby [colback]." Because the colback, clearly better known, was (in France) the coiffure of certain Hussars. Thus there would be a kind of coherence.

v) p. 237, twelve lines from the bottom. Delete the word "imagined," which has already been replaced.

w) p. 279, isn't it necessary to have a question mark at the end of the page?

x) p. 289, "Points spaced so that they find the necessary space therein . . ." This expression is unfortunate.

y) p. 294, I believe that the correction at the end of the page must be completed thus: "as well as the annihilation of all protection of the very country of the invader."

z) p. 295, line 19. I do not understand Vatry: "small, very rounded states"? We must consult the original here.

a') p. 310, correction x. In place of "and force the Duke to adopt it . . ." say: "and to press the Duke to adopt it."

b') [p. 310], correction xx. Same objection as p. 77 against "in all cases."

c') p. 322, "as one says [...][5] commerce."

d') p. 327, editor's note, the pleasing phrase "of his own" (to describe Vatry's interpolations) has already been employed three or four times. It would gain elegance if it was varied a little.

e') p. 356, note xx. There is a certain obscurity in that a general must never think of means -- or what he must think about?

f') p. 358, four lines from the bottom: "Lascy" or "Lacy"?

Book VII

g') p. 3, a priori (no accent over the "a").

h') p. 110, note x. ". . . without a genuine apprehension." This metaphor, which evokes precious metals,[6] appears to me rather bizarre as a description of an apprehension. Wouldn't it be better to say "a certain apprehension that is not unjustified"? -- or, rather: "without a well-founded apprehension" or "a legitimate apprehension"?

i') p. 111, seven lines from the bottom. I do not understand the correction "collective means," whereas here it is clearly a question of personal reflection. Is it not rather: "the entirety of the means of which he disposes and moral power . . ."?

j') p. 126, three lines from the bottom: in place of "needy reasoning," it would certainly be better to say: "labored reasoning."

k') p. 134, first line. It would be better to say, as Vatry does, "the bourgeoisie," rather than "the citizens." Or "the citizens who own property"?

l') p. 163, in fine: for the most famous formula of C[lausewitz], I hardly like the Vatryism "with immixture of other means." Wouldn't it be better to say, "the recourse to other means"? [or] "by using other means to intervene"?

m') p. 164, correction [...][7]. In this important phrase (often translated because often quoted), you have clearly bettered Vatry. But I believe that it would be better still if one said, in place of "but not a logic," this: "but not a different logic."

n') p. 170, lines 7 and 8. An obscurity. Who were the three brothers of Belle-Isle and the Duke of Choiseul, all "good soldiers"? Belle-Isle was a marshal. But who else is included in this enumeration? One must see the German phrasing: and, if necessary, add an editor's note.

Guy Debord

[1] For the translator: re-reading the manuscript of On War, which would be published in April 1989. [The translator was Jean-Pierre Baudet.]

[2] German for "etc."

[3] Translator's note: the word "and" [et] has been crossed out.

[4] De Vatry, the first to translate On War into French.

[5] Translator's note: the word en has been crossed out.

[6] Translator's note: the French here (de bon aloi) literally means "of good alloy."

[7] Translator's note: an upside-down Y appears here.

(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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