from Guy Debord

To Marcel Marien
24 February 1955
Dear Marcel Marien:

Thank you for your card, and Corrections naturelles.[1]

All the subjects in this book are as current in ’55 as they were in ’47, and we approve all the conclusions – except for the really minor value of the current methods of the communist parties and the assimilation of Cheval with Rousseau the tax collector.[2]

If the “grotesque pedestal” is common to their enterprises, it seems to us that one cannot judge them equally as far as the objective results, because Rousseau’s painting was indeed a formal reaction against the impressionist revolution, while [Cheval's] Palais idéal is not a reaction against the baroque architecture of the period, but its supercession. In a domain so rigorously sheltered from the “poetic revolutions” by unchanged economic conditions – conditions obviously more paralyzing in architecture than in painting – the translation “. . . in the complete purity, the contrary to all aesthetic pretension, of a profound need to act upon the world” appears to us to possess the value of a collective demand, which the facile graphic activity of a child or a madman, without social consequences, doesn’t know how to make.

I regret not having had your book a year ago. I would have given it to several young disciples of André Breton who then manifested a certain intellectual honesty. These people only survive due to ignorance. And, in the most recent issue of Medium,[3] the only clear and coherent text demands a radical return to absolute automatism, which alone does not disappoint its loyalists.

Here are the most usable addresses in Italy.[4] Signor Enrico Baj (Milan); Signor Oreste Borri (Florence); Libreria Schwarz (Milan); Signor Mario Colucci, Academia di Belle Arti (Naples); and the editorial committee of Numero (Florence).

Please accept our cordial salutations, and please pass them on to Jane Graverol[5] and [Paul] Nougé.

Guy-Ernest Debord

[1] The Natural Corrections, Marcel Marien (Brussels, Selection Bookstore, 1947).

[2] Translator: Ferdinand Cheval (1836-1924), a French postman and amateur architect, and Henri Rousseau (1844-1901), a French tax collector and painter.

[3] Medium, new series, a surrealist journal that appeared from November 1953 to January 1955.

[4] Translator: street addresses have been removed.

[5] Jane Graverol (1905-1984), a painter and co-founder of the journal Les Levres nues.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol "0": Septembre 1951 - Juillet 1957: Complete des "lettres retrouvees" et d l'index general des noms cites by Librairie Artheme Fayard, October 2010. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! February 2011. Footnotes by the publisher, except where noted.)

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