from Guy Debord

To Jean-Jacques Pauvert
9 September 1991
Dear Jean-Jacques Pauvert:

Your letter has enchanted me. Of course I will agree to trust you with my complete works, in the publishing circumstances that you mention, if the co-publisher[1] is agreeable.

I also believe that Antoine Gallimard will not find it difficult to agree that his assertion[2] was erroneous. The circumstances of 1968 aggravated the situation, since he himself was a member of the March 22d Movement,[3] which the situationists then considered to be -- not without reason -- a moderate, recuperated and quasi-mediatic faction of the May movement. Finally, those days knew worse excesses, when more hostile perspectives were clashing.

I see as you do, although from the outside, the crisis of publishing. There will be even fewer truly independent publishers, not only for obvious economic reasons, but for related reasons that derive from the socio-political conditions of the era, which mark reading as much as writing. Reviewing all this, it seems to me that today Gallimard (among those that you have mentioned) would be the best, for objective reasons: it is the only house with the financial backing that could produce a real economic interest in maintaining what one previously called "the freedom of culture" to a certain extent and against the deceptive obviousness of the frozen logic of the pure commodity. As for the subjective side, the sole fact that Antoine Gallimard knows you increases his chances; and already constitutes a favorable sign, after all.

We will assuredly need a good attorney. As the results on the legal plane will hardly be in doubt, I can say we need a lawyer who will not let himself be intimidated. You surely know several of them. Mine,[4] of whom I know nothing, appears to put his trust in the adversary, who is none other than the famous Baudelot, whose recent miracles in the shady affairs in which he defended the Elysee everyone knows.[5]

Several signs (and I assure you that they aren't Sade's "signals") lead me to think that the new generation of unfortunate Lebovicis has only constituted [a pair of] simple marionettes, manipulated by the one(s) who desired to do so. It is primarily for this reason that I would like to free myself from such people as soon as possible. I have even encountered an apparent and rather suspect ease in obtaining the disappearance of this publishing house.[6] The others have absolutely enclosed themselves in silence, and have the air of wanting to "gain time" in this way. For this reason alone, it will be necessary for us to press things as much as possible.

I respond to your questions:

1) I do not have the impression that the plates for the books in question still exist, and even less that these people will transmit them to us [if they do in fact still exist].

2) In April, to hasten things along, I gave my agreement to the pulping of all my Champ Libre-[Editions Gerard] Lebovici books. But I do not know if this has actually been done, and one has not communicated to me any response, not even a deceptive one (I have several copies of each book).

3) You can make any contacts that appear useful to you. It would be very good, except for the obstacles that you might foresee, to pass this [proposal] by Editions Gallimard, since you tell me that there is an intermediary from the liquidation of Champ Libre. He must know much more than I do about the matter. I am sure that your unexpected appearance in the game will have the greatest effect and will transform the conditions. I rejoice in this.

Guy Debord

[1] Translator's note: Editions Gallimard.

[2] Translator's note: See letter dated 27 August 1991.

[3] Translator's note: as was the future situationist, Rene Riesel.

[4] Translator's note: Yves Cournot.

[5] Affair of false invoices and the presidential campaign of Francois Mitterand in 1987-1988.

[6] Translator's note: in 1992, Editions Lebovici would in fact reappear under the name Editions Ivrea.

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

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