One isn’t recuperated without wanting it

Guy Debord t-shirt

On avoiding a literary prize for Society of the Spectacle. From Internationale Situationniste #12 (September 1969).

Submitted by Fozzie on April 19, 2023


This translation is a first draft, and has not been independently proofread. However, to the best of my knowledge this text has never been translated into English. Therefore I am making it available in this form with the caveat that there are likely to be mistakes in it. PLEASE APPROACH IT WITH CAUTION!

Draft 0.0 (17 January 2016)

One isn’t recuperated without wanting it 1

We read in Figaro Littéraire of 16 December 1968, regarding the award of a “Prix Sainte-Beuve” to Mme Lucie Faure:

“The president Edgar Faure graciously came to congratulate his wife (…) proving that in 1968 a jury could still sit without being disrupted (…) We were saved from the protest, and even the violence, that could have occurred2 had the jury of the Prix Sainte-Beuve awarded the prize to Guy Debord for his book The Society of the Spectacle – as was the intention at one point. Mr. Debord is a savage Situationist who couldn’t have accepted being feted by the bourgeois at a cocktail party thrown by the society of consumption. He had warned his publisher Mr. Edmond Buchet: “As you know, I am completely opposed to all literary prizes. Therefore, please make that known to the people concerned, to save them from a blunder. I also have to admit that, in so regrettable an eventuality, I would probably be unable to prevent the attacks that the young Situationists would certainly make on a jury that would award such an honour, which to them would feel like an insult.”

It can be seen that the approach was very clear, and its outcomes conclusive.

Translated by Ian Thompson. From

  • 1“Est récupéré qui veut bien” – a tricky phrase to translate, another option is “The recuperated really want it”
  • 2“N’empêche que nous aurions pu l’avoir la contestation” – literally “Only saving us from the protest we could have had”