from Guy Debord

To Jean-Jacques Pauvert
23 April 1993
Dear Jean-Jacques:

I will respond to you right away, given the great number of touched-upon questions left in suspense (this phrase[1] appears to me unintentionally Mallarmean).

I have received the Asclepiodotus[2] and thank you very much for it. A beautiful book; and I'm not only speaking about the Macedonian phalanx as a date in the history of Tactics, but the excellent book design, made on the old model. Your contract with Editions Belles Lettres is very interesting (has Annie [Le Brun] been published by them?). You will note, of course, that an Italian gang is maneuvering to seize this publishing house. They have published good things, notably the Lettre dechiffree.[3] It is impressive to find, so close to the place in which wells up -- in a communal sink -- the first research into the "sciences" of writing, the rapidity with which their techniques are draining into police techniques. The "Iconoclast" collection[4] is a good idea. It would only be necessary to change the cover design; this is imperative.

At last, we have the final protocol,[5] which is so crucial. Henceforth, I can accept the sale of the "strategic games"[6] for a symbolic franc. Here I recognize your mastery in the liquidation of companies. Let's liquidate it. The assets consist of a single license, which, furthermore, is mine. This company has never done anything and thus seems to have no debts, not in any case according to any of the purely formal documents that I signed. This is the only place in which we must take care so that no retrospective pretenses to make ghostly rip-offs pop up. Thus, let's say that we will leave until another time the question of the ownership rights to my films [le cinema]. But perhaps it will be necessary to more quickly make the complaint about the sales that openly continue at FNAC of the books that had been guaranteed to have been pulped.

For two weeks I have expected to have something further to say to you as a conclusion to [the matter concerning] Gallimard. Nothing has come to me. And so I summarize for you where we left off. The pagination of Panegyric was an obvious insult, the goal of which could only have been nothing other than measuring what outrages one could perhaps accept [in exchange] for attachment to this prestigious publishing house. I think that, if we had already decided to break with them, the tactical and legal occasion could not have been better. But at the strategic level, as we say of the era more generally, a more certain explication would be better. Antoine [Gallimard] telephoned me that he had sent good proofs. He actually sent them with a letter asking to come by "after the Easter vacation," a little like the song by Malborough. I returned these proofs immediately and the next day I sent a letter in which I accepted the idea of meeting him, but without asking for a more precise date. The books must in principle appear now. I believe that the most probable thing will be that he will come. And should this happen, I cannot say to you that we know with certainty what will finally happen, but I am sure that he will have measured what his options really are.

I suppose that one of the two "Annies" whom you will employ is Alice [Becker-Ho]. I also believe that one will be able to conclude very soon.

I believe that the historian's project,[7] which attempts to get my accord to evoke, on Arte TV, my role in the art of the times -- supposing that the film will be completed -- will add a few uncertainties and perplexities among our partners, because I do not believe that there can be discretion in such milieus.

Venice is still a very precious experience.[8] Everyone has admired this town for so long, and it really is worthy of admiration. Once there existed so many others. Today, Venice is even more extraordinary, because it has kept nearly all of its initial, extraordinary qualities (the art and the water), but, in addition, it has kept much of the ordinary town of the Middle Ages, and also a good part of the best towns of the 1950s. Automobile traffic has killed off all the others. Here even the tourism is hardly bothersome: it isn't conducted by car. I knew Venice well many years ago, and I have discovered that almost nothing has changed. It is an astonishing refreshment for critical theory. It has always seemed to me that it would lose much if one could not drink wine in the taverns. And it is still very easy [to do so] in Venice, although surely less so for many spectators.

We will soon see each other, in Venice, I count on it. But beforehand in Champot. I hope that this will be in June and that, like the most famous champions, you will once more beat (in the most surprising manner) the record that you established at La Riviere, to general enthusiasm.

All of our best wishes,
Our best regards to your beautiful princess.

[1] Translator's note: the French here is le grand nombre effleure de questions en suspens.

[2] Asclepiodotus or pseudo-Ascelpiodotus, Treatise on Tactics.

[3] By Camillo Baldi.

[4] Collection of pamphlets begun by Jean-Jacques Pauvert at Editions Belles Lettres.

[5] Concluding matters with the Lebovici sons.

[6] Translator's note: the Strategic and Historical Games Company, founded in 1978 to produce Guy Debord's Kriegspiel cabinet game.

[7] Brigitte Cornand's Guy Debord: Son Art et Son Temps.

[8] Translator's note: Guy Debord went there in March 1993.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 7: Janvier 1988-Novembre 1994 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2008. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! June 2009. Footnotes by the publisher, except where noted.)

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