from Guy Debord

To Jean-Jacques Pauvert
9 August 1993
Dear Jean-Jacques:

I do not believe that your rich associate[1] is someone from whom it is truly possible to have assurances. And do we really need them, here more than elsewhere?

Memoires is really an anti-book and, furthermore, from a very good era. It is celebrated and was never put on sale, anywhere, during that era. It was a gift, but now it must cease to be one. (This isn't to say that it has never yielded anything; on the contrary, potlatch appears to me to be a system that is made to yield a great deal.)

The affair will be symbolic and thus will serve as a kind o f test of good will. I appreciate your associate's humor, when, for example, he said to you that a publishing house must be prudent with the National Bank of Literature: one might lose one's soul in it. Tell him in confidence that your Author, without having what one calls -- in times when the economy has more importance in commercial publishing than today -- real market value, has what one might call real historical value. He finds himself characterized by his obstinate attachment to the customs of marginality: he is one of those people of whom one says that they prefer to lose money on a shady deal than gain it in a healthy one. In sum, I prefer to sell my prestige[1] and to recoup my losses with suitable liquid compensations. Fix a sum that seems decent to you, if the operation interests you. I would offer you half.

In this work, there is, in sum, almost nothing to say: this is perhaps better if one considers the themes with which your Author has offended his century. In this case, if your affairs resolve themselves, I would write a preface that wouldn't lack interest concerning extreme art in the 1950s.

If there are things you'd like to speak about in person, come when you'd like to in the next several days.

And of course bring Christiane each time that you find the occasion to do so in the course of your travels.

We embrace you.

[1] Translator's note: the French here is vendre du prestige.

(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.)

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