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Notes on this edition
We have brought together the most recent English translations of Guy Debord’s work The Society of the Spectacle, by Ken Knabb; Debord’s 1992 Foreword to the third French edition, translated by NOT BORED!; and Debord’s 1979 Preface to the fourth Italian edition, originally translated by Michel Prigent and Lucy Forsyth, and edited and revised by NOT BORED!. We have also included Knabb’s useful ‘Index to Debord’s Society of the Spectacle’, which cross references names and works cited with theses and chapter epigrams.
The Preface to the fourth Italian edition in particular provides an excellent analysis of state sponsored terrorism and the spectacle of far-left terrorism in Italy in the 1970s. Considering the ongoing development of state-bureaucratic methods of deception and the cultivation and indeed creation of pseudo-enemies of the global spectacle, this work has only grown in significance. The Preface constitutes a most important commentary and extension of The Society of the Spectacle by the author; indeed it can now be considered as a bridge to Debord’s 1988 work, Comments on the Society of the Spectacle. The Foreword was written for the 1992 edition published in French by Éditions Gallimard. In the Foreword Debord draws attention to the most significant changes since 1967; the development of an integrated spectacle on the basis of the previously opposed diffuse and concentrated spectacles (cf. his 1988 work Comments on the Society of the Spectacle, as well as Theses 63, 64, 65 and 70 of the present work); and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Donald Nicholson-Smith included it in his 1994 English translation of The Society of the Spectacle. Ken Knabb chose to leave it out of his more recent translation. Therefore our inclusion of the Foreword and the Preface in this edition, all the better to present Debord’s critique as a work in progress.
In the spirit of such a historical presentation we hope to provide an epub version of Comments on the Society of the Spectacle, based on NOT BORED!’s translation, in the near future.
Notes from the Sinister Quarter
Canberra, January 2013