Errata and Revisions

in Ken Knabb’s Writings and Translations


Situationist International Anthology
The Society of the Spectacle (Debord)
Complete Cinematic Works (Debord)
Public Secrets: Collected Skirmishes of Ken Knabb


Situationist International Anthology

(Bureau of Public Secrets, 1981. Revised and Expanded Edition, 2006)

The original 1981 edition had virtually no errors, although the revised edition includes numerous minor stylistic improvements to those earlier translations. So far, I have found the following errata in the revised edition:

the I.S. articles > the I.S. articles [italic]
2: immediate - suicide > immediate—suicide
6: which could preserve and enhance the Castle poetic power > which could nevertheless preserve and enhance a “Castle” type of poetic power
48: Surréalisme même > Le Surréalisme même
56: man within his own domain > man within its own domain
      Surréalisme même > Le Surréalisme même
76: “ ‘Protection” is the key word“ ‘Protection’ is the key word
purpose of which is earn > purpose of which is to earn
141: The vast majority everywhere consumes the odious, soul-destroying social space-time “produced” by a tiny minority. > Already, all over the world, the vast majority now consumes the odious, soul-destroying space-time whose organization is “produced” by a tiny minority.
159: nothing but than twenty-four hours > nothing but twenty-four hours
168: “little people” > “small ones”
223: word are insubordinate > words are insubordinate
256: Ta Tu Thau > Ta Thu Thau [and similar correction in the Index, p. 530]
268: insultingly - boycotted > insultingly boycotted
Baudrillart > Baudrillard [and similar correction in the Index, p. 516]
274: “seek stereotypical Joe Worker recruits.” Add note: Literally, “seek their worker Albert.” Allusion to Albert Martin, the token worker in the provisional government during the French revolution of 1848.
340: “like some doctoral thesis on Machiavelli . . .” Add note: Allusion to the fact that Lefort’s doctoral thesis was on Machiavelli. That thesis was later published as a book, which Debord critiques in detail (La Librairie de Guy Debord: Stratégie, pp. 244-252).
405: that has not been not afraid > that has not been afraid
442: or - disappear > or disappear
483 (note 175): (1943) > (1843)
511: Henry V > Henry IV, Part I

I have also made a few slight stylistic revisions in the Jorn text about the Imaginist Bauhaus (pp. 23-24).


The Society of the Spectacle

(Rebel Press, 2004; revised and annotated edition, Bureau of Public Secrets, 2014)

In the first Rebel Press printing (2004), the publisher erroneously referred to my translation as “a new authorized translation.” My translation was in fact done independently and was not authorized.

There were a few other errata is the Rebel Press edition, none very significant. The new translation published by the Bureau of Public Secrets (2014) has been extensively revised and annotated.

Errata and revisions:
Sorenson > Sorensen
#87: discernable > discernible
negation which has in one case has already > negation which has in one case already
140 (note on Chapter 6 epigraph):
from #247 Gracián’s > from #247 of Gracián’s
141 (note on #170): In addition to the three page references to Hegel’s Propaedeutic cited in my note, the following sentence on p. 151 of the Propaedeutic is another good example of what Debord is referring to: “The Object thus posited as outside the subject and in its own self as an externality is partly the quiescent side-by-sideness of space, partly a restless becoming in the successive moments of time.”

Additional Notes:
The Marx quotation in turn alludes to The Wealth of Nations by his great predecessor, Adam Smith.
#51: The quotation is in fact a paraphrase from Freud’s article “A Case of Obsessional Neurosis” (a.k.a. the “Rat Man case”): “I then made some short observations upon the psychological differences between the conscious and the unconscious, and upon the fact that everything conscious was subject to a process of wearing-away, while what was unconscious was relatively unchangeable; and I illustrated my remarks by pointing to the antiques standing about in my room. They were, in fact, I said, only objects found in a tomb, and their burial had been their preservation: the destruction of Pompeii was only beginning now that it had been dug up.”
#52: Cf. Freud’s The Ego and the Id: “Where Id was, there Ego shall be.”
#116: “poses problems”: letter from Pannekoek to Maximilien Rubel (1952).


Complete Cinematic Works

(AK Press, 2003)

Errata and revisions:

below freezing or > below freezing point or
Would you like an orange > Would you like an orange? [Strangely, some copies lack the question mark, others do not.]
14. masters of their own lives > masters and possessors of their own lives
37. Terrible sound, > its dreadful,
37. but the scenery > but the scene
38. The wine of life is drunk; in this pretentious nightclub only the dregs remain. > The wine of life is drawn; in this cellar of vanity only the dregs remain.
45. the result and the goal > the result and the project
62. city spectacle wants to > city spectacle needs to
69. is the critique of human geography > is this critique of human geography
118. what error have they have made > what error they have made
146. every kind rubbish > every kind of rubbish
147. placed outside all the laws > placed beyond all the laws
149. This is one of main > This is one of the main
166. The same reappears. > The same woman reappears.
182. On the eve of a battle > On a battlefield
228. description of the some of the images > description of some of the images
231 (note 78). The image is from the classic painting by Jacques-Louis David. > The image is from a black & white sketch by Jacques-Louis David, in preparation for his classic oil painting of the event.
235 (note 124). Le Nouvel Observateur > Charlie-Hebdo
235 (note 128). The Philosophy of Poverty > The Poverty of Philosophy
240 (note 189). Richard Lester > Tony Richardson
246. Benny Colson > Benny Golson
246. Add this sentence at the bottom of the page: “The French script of the video [Guy Debord, son art et son temps] can be found in Debord’s Oeuvres (Gallimard, 2006), pp. 1870-1878.”

Additional notes:
2. She is ugliness and beauty — like everything we love today: passage from Apollinaire’s The Poet Assassinated.
The published script reads “on the Shenandoah,” but the voice in the film actually says “on the Chattanooga.” Probably Debord intended to evoke the Shenandoah film passage that he later used in The Society of the Spectacle (see  p. 78), but misremembered the name during the original preparation of the 1952 film.
14. Human beings are not fully conscious . . . outcomes they had not intended: quotation from Henri Lefebvre’s Problèmes actuels du marxisme. masters and possessors of their own lives: Cf. Descartes’s Discourse on Method (Part 6): “we may find a practical philosophy by means of which . . . we may render ourselves the masters and possessors of nature.”
31-32. If man is shaped by circumstances, it is necessary to create human circumstances: quotation from Marx and Engels’s The Holy Family (VI.3.d).
36. Already farther away than India or China: line from Baudelaire’s poem “Moesta et Errabunda” (“Sad and Restless”).
37. “The production . . . but the scene”: The three sentence fragments (along with the Macbeth line on the following page) are from Debord’s 1958 Mémoires (a book which itself consists entirely of fragmentary elements detourned from other sources; for example, “It has all the elements of an American detective novel — violence, sex cruelty — but the scenery . . .” is from a review of Albert Bester’s science-fiction novel The Demolished Man).
38. The wine of life . . . remain: Cf. “The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees is left this vault to brag of” (Macbeth, II, iii).
86. Those who . . . hierarchical parties: Cf. “Whoever makes himself tyrant of a state and does not kill Brutus will not last long; nor will he who restores the liberty to a state and does not kill the sons of Brutus” (Machiavelli, Discourses, III.3).
90. The film clip about the burning of the Reichstag is from Slatan Dudow’s Stärker als die nacht (1954).
94. But neither the wood nor the fire . . . imparts its own nature to it: Cf. Meister Eckhart (II:137): “Fire changes into itself what is added to it, which becomes its own nature. The wood does not change the fire into itself, but the fire changes the wood into itself. In the same way we are changed into God that we may know Him as He is. Acting and becoming are one: God and I are one in this work: He acts and I become.”
114. The spectacle does not debase people to the point of making them love it: Cf. Vauvenargues’s Maxim #22: “Servitude debases people to the point of making them love it.”
145. Dramatized anecdotes have been the building blocks of the cinema: Cf. “Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion” (Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell).
147. “It is no small satisfaction . . .” follows the French translation quoted by Debord. Swift’s actual words (from the final chapter of Gulliver’s Travels) are: “I am not a little pleased that this Work of mine can possibly meet with no Censurers.”
156. Bliss it was to be young . . .: Cf. “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!” (Wordsworth, The Prelude, Book XI, referring to the French Revolution).
163. announcing . . . that God was dead: allusion to the Lettrist Notre-Dame scandal of 1950.
166. The same reappears refers to a repeat of the image of Éliane Papaï.
189. “Where are those merry companions of times gone by?”: lines from François Villon’s Testament.

There are also a number of fairly trivial détournements that I have not bothered to indicate, e.g. when a phrase was perhaps originally suggested by a passage in Shakespeare or some other classic author, but has no particular significance and could just as easily have come from any number of other sources.


Public Secrets

(Bureau of Public Secrets, 1997)

References are to page and line (B = starting from the bottom).

69.17: seemed appropriate > seems appropriate
82.B18: regions catch up > regions to catch up
109.5-6: Activists who who disdained > Activists who disdained
111.19: most of leftists > most leftists
123.17-18: back luck > bad luck
125.23: was release > was released
163.B12: tact > tactic
199.B12: We support out thesis > We support our thesis
261.5: confirmed and precised > confirmed and clarified
265: The last sentence of paragraph 2 could be more clearly and accurately translated as: “As they lose their former material bases due to the general proletarianization imposed by modern industrial society, these two poles are tending to blend into each other, causing the differences between the sexes to become less marked.” (Readers who are so inclined can of course change the then-standard generic masculine forms to feminine or gender-neutral forms throughout this text, and anywhere else in the book.)
272.5 (col. 1): visers > visors
272.B18 (col. 1): irreconciliability > irreconcilability
272.B10 (col. 2): Herbert Gombin > Richard Gombin
275.B6 (col. 2): public presence to our present activity > public awareness of our present activity
283.B20: esquisite > exquisite
In the Index:
Chaplin, Charlie: 05 > 105
Chasse, Robert: 16 > 168
Chastel, Arnaud: 11 > 121
Chiang Kai-shek: 33 > 303
Add: Rexroth, Mary, 314

Revised versions of my translations of shorter texts (e.g. articles that originally appeared in pamphlet form) are online at this website, which also includes continually updated versions of the Situationist Bibliography and Notes on the Texts.


Errata for Ken Knabb’s writings and translations.

I would appreciate being informed of any other errors readers may notice.