from Guy Debord

To Jean-Jacques Pauvert
27 May 1993
Dear Jean-Jacques:

Yesterday we had lunch with Antoine [Gallimard], who finally decided that he would come with "his collaborator," Teresa Cremisi, who was completely gracious and full of spirit. The entirety of the meeting gave the impression of being frank and cordial. I positively demanded nothing at all. I limited myself to clarifying the situation in the lightest fashion, but -- at the same time -- very distinctly, I believe. As I announced to you, I will now risk communicating to you my prognosis of what followed. Here it is: if some factor that would bring down an external veto upon the entire affair doesn't in fact suddenly arise, I can foresee in the ensemble that we must have confidence in awaiting a favorable outcome concerning the principal problems that we discussed at La Riviere. I can provide this rapid summary of yesterday's diplomatic mission.

I asked that they publish my next unpublished book, which will be entitled "Cette Mauvaise Reputation . . .," at the latest date during the current year. It will quite rudely study the worst of what was written about me between 1988 and 1992. But not in 1993: one will finish by showing the effects of the procedure. This book will be the [even] more grandiose sequel to the Considerations on the assassination [of Gerard Lebovici]. What is the last day for the manuscript if the book is to be published in December? (The maximum amount of time would permit me to better reduce the text down.) The response was: the end of October. I made it precise that the Gallimard bulletin had indeed slightly displeased me, but that the audacious fuckery of Dagobert[1] had enraged me. One assured me that he is in fact a cunt. Of [Philippe] Sollers, I only said that I no longer wish to speak further, and that all of these annoying attempts to pay homage haven't even been useful to him, as he had seemed to believe. One now knows that The Princes[2] has produced a real scandal for their publishing house, and many fake scholars have made themselves frightfully ridiculous by trying to simply keep their mouths shut (while they must at least make absolute denials of such truths, like the Stalinists, which is a little difficult without the NKVD[3]). Alice then asked if Gallimard is not obligated to keep certain arrangement with the neo-university. Antoine said "not at all," that he is enchanted by their mortification, and that he is only tied to Nora (I note in passing that Nora is a perfect representative). In sum, as Antoine is interested in the sequel (The Essence of Jargon), he willingly agreed that The Princes must be re-published as a "Folio" edition first. The Princes has already sold 3,000 or 4,000 copies, he says, with the quiet support that you already know; I believe that this fact must count, perhaps more than its philological truth or the obvious necessity of not irritating us any further, which are things that must also count. I declared that, since it seems that he had reassured me so easily, as I hoped he would, as far as several trifles that had seemed to remain litigious matters between us -- all of which showed that he will no doubt remain my publisher for a long time (he politely retorted that he was counting on it) -- I thus wanted to communicate something to him that, in this sense, concerned him indirectly. I greatly admire and like Annie Le Brun. He responded that he did, too. I made it precise that it is not from the justness of such a taste that I would claim to have need of convincing him. The practical detail is that, a little while ago, I asked Annie if she would like to one day write a book about the entirety of my works, when she had the time, and that I would provide her with the documents. She honored me by accepting. And that I desire no one else, as long as it would be possible to prevent it, it being clear that I only have confidence in her. Antoine responded that he would take action. I will add to you that the thing is, of course, true, but it is a project in principle only, still very vague and general, and that Annie has not explicitly authorized me to mention it. I think that Antoine is precisely the man and that this is the time in which this kind of discretion is in sum necessary.

As you will see, this idea having been transmitted, I derived a consequence that doesn't appear to me to be completely without value. I have ascertained that Annie is loyalty incarnate, which assuredly is not the least precious of her brilliant qualities. I added coldly, as an obviousness that cannot even be discussed, without one being able to divine if I would rejoice in it or deplore it, that it would be completely impossible to think of separating her from you. Antoine, who must be a good poker player, responded tranquilly that he hadn't doubted it for a moment. As you will guess, I did not have the awkwardness to contest the literal exactness of the expression. The important thing will be what Antoine thinks in the final analysis. I think that he is sincere and that he will easily see how this current development of the game is favorable to him, and that he would lose if he unreasonably chose a contrary move (this is obviously still pending the discussion with an unknown external element, who could perhaps have the final say, but this doesn't appear very probable to me).

Of course the questions that one could have about the "pamphlets" remained outside of our conversation. What do you think of what I proposed in my letter of 17 May?[4]

I beg you to send Annie a copy of this letter.

When can you come to Champot?

[1] Production head at Gallimard.

[2] Translator's note: Alice Becker-Ho, The Princes of Jargon (Editions Gerard Lebovici, 1989).

[3] Translator's note: the Soviet secret police.

[4] Translator's note: pamphlets that would show Antoine Gallimard that Guy Debord could more or less escape from him.

(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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