from Guy Debord

To Gerard Lebovici
16 April 1972
Dear Lebovici:

Here are several notes on the books that we spoke of the other day.

The best texts by the young Hegel are in Theologische Jugenschriften [Early Theological Writings], Editions Nohl, 1907. Certain passages were translated by Papaioannou -- him again -- in the excellent little [book] Hegel that Seghers published in 1962. It seems to me that almost all the rest is unknown in French.

A. von Cieszkowski published the Prolegomena zur Historiosophie [Prolegomena on Historiosophy] in 1838. It seems that it is the first sketch of a philosophy of "praxis." You see this had a beautiful future.

The early years of Moses Hess offer two books that are perhaps interesting: Die heilige Geschicte der Menschheit von einem Juenger Spinozas (The Saintly History of Humanity by a Young Spinozist), Stuttgart, 1837 -- it is one in 16 [English in original] of three hundred forty six pages. In it there is the first conceptualization of the rich/poor polarization becoming extreme, which would later be "demonstrated" in [Karl Marx's] Capital. Die europaische Triarchie [The European Triarchy], Leipzig, O. Wigand, 1841. (This was inspired by Cieszkowski).

It would perhaps be better to be the publisher of [Karl] Korsch, and thus to see what his book Arbeitsrecht fuer Betriebstrate [Work Rights for Work Councils] (Berlin, 1922) is worth. I would risk translating this title by The Right to Work for Management Councils.

Almost all of Clausewitz, who fortunately returns to fashion, is translated into French but, except Of War, nothing has been reprinted since 1900, and it is unfindable. Everything is thus in the public domain and you have only the inconvenience of the choice between The Campaign of 1796 in Italy, The Campaign of 1799 in Italy and Switzerland, The Campaign of 1812 in Russia, the Campaign of 1813 and the Campaign of 1814, or Notes on Prussia in its great catastrophe (1806). These are books of two hundred to three hundred pages, which are the National [Library] under the respective codes Lh4 2197, LH4 2463, 8M.11039, 8M.11239, [and] 8M.12351. Today, certains authors such as Gluksmann feign to appreciate Clausewitz as a theoretician of strategy, so as to cite him in their inept, pure and structuralized constructions, and beside Mao, several formulations taken from Of War that they do not understand. There is a great interest in really knowing a theoretical thinking that is applied to a concrete process. This is what justifies publishing this apparently military material.

So as to leave Germany: I believe that the famous Leviathan by [Thomas] Hobbes (1651) still has not been translated into French (or fragmentarily, a long time ago?). Here is an Anglicist who is necessary for you. From the English revolution one can draw, among others, the famous pamphlet by Sexby: Killing is no murder 1657), which was published in French in 1658, in Lyon, under the title: Political treatise composed by William Allen, Englishman, . . . in which it is proved by examples from Moses and others, taken from the Scriptures, that killing a tyrant is not murder.

A magnificent Spanish book, which has the advantage of being translated in France since 1684, is The Man of Court by Baltasar Gracian (1647). Its last re-edition, now become rare, was by Bernard Grasset in 1924. I have heard that unsympathetic pirates have proposed to place it on the market, simply because I quoted a phrase from this book in the [Society of the] Spectacle. But if you act quickly, you can crush these poor people with the beauty of a Champ Libre cover as well as with your [superior] distribution. To publish Gracian would be all the more interesting if, later on, an adequate expert proposes that this book becomes the departure point for an "Iberian collection," which would without difficulty demonstrate his Hispanicity by reprinting, for example, the Barcelona telephone book. If you do not go so far into modernism, at least you can look for several books and documents on the Spanish revolution and the F.A.I. [Iberian Anarchist Federation] (for example, translate the documents from its congress, such as that at Sargossa). No matter what you would publish on this subject, it would be the contrary of the lamentable book by Lorenzo, published by Editions Seuil,[1] and of interest to a large public.

In France as well, we have beautiful texts that have been momentarily forgotten. One or several of the best mazarinades [lampoons of Julkes Mazarin]? A treatise or the speech to the Convention by Anacharsis Cloots ("the ambassador of the human kind," "the personal enemy of Jesus Christ," certainly the most extreme spirit of the bourgeois revolution, executed with the Hebertists, but much more amusing than them). Perhaps the book by Gabriel Naude, Political considerations on Coups d'Etat (1639)? He is a kind of sub-Machiavelli. I do not know what the [French] text says, because I only know an Italian translation published in 1958. But the original can obviously be consulted at the National [Library].

I mention to you all this in disorder, as simple written supplement to an amiable conversation. Which of course means: make of it what you'd like.

Best to you,
Guy Debord

[1] M. Cesar Lorenzo, The Spanish Anarchists and Power.

(Published in Guy Debord, Correspondance, Volume 4, 1969-1972. Footnote by Alice Debord. Translated from the French and, where necessary, from the German by NOT BORED! July 2005.)

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