Montag, 6. Juni 2016

Andrea Gabler/Harald Wolf, An Anthology Unpublished: Who Is Afraid of "Socialisme ou Barbarie"?

Once upon a time, in the 50s and 60s of the bygone century, there were some bold people united in a tiny revolutionary group in France calling itself „Socialisme ou Barbarie“ („Socialism or Barbarism“). In dark times, in a journal of the same name they published seminal analyses of the Eastern and Western capitalistic systems of oppression and exploitation calling out to sabotage and abolish these systems.

A decade ago (2007), former members of „Socialisme ou Barbarie“ - Helen Arnold, Daniel Blanchard, Enrique Escobar, Daniel Ferrand, Georges Petit, and Jacques Signorelli - edited an anthology of texts published in the journal in the French publishing house Acratie (La Bussière), with texts, amongst others, by Cornelius Castoriadis, Claude Lefort, Jean-François Lyotard, and Daniel Mothé. Now, after a long time and initiated by David Curtis, for many years the translator and editor of Castoriadis’ writings, and by Richard Greeman, director of the International Victor Serge Foundation, there should have been published an extended English edition of this anthology, translated by Curtis, at Pluto Press, London.

But the publication of this edition, already announced in the autumn preview of Pluto Press, is now being stopped. The contracts on which this project was based were nullified in an apparently unilateral manner by the Victor Serge Foundation and Pluto Press. A grave act indeed, for which one can expect explanatory statements. What has happened?
(Here you can continue [PDF].)


Lefty Hideaway hat gesagt…

Having read your documentation and the one from David Curtis, it seems to me the core of the problems is based in some internal contradictions and bad communication inside the Victor Serge Foudation. One part of the foundation obviously gave approval to Curtis translation while another part rejected him. In the end (when David's work was already completed...), the two had no agreement and clashed, and the mess was there. Just my guess, based on the assumption that the Foundation (or member(s) of the Foundation) is/are the owner(s) of the publishing rights of the anthology.

Anyway, it's a tragedy - foremost for the translator and for anyone in the englisch-speaking world interested in SoB.

Harald Wolf hat gesagt…

Yes, the result hitherto is deplorable. But I don't think that the problem lies inside of the Serge Foundation. I think it mostly has to do with the communication (and non-communication; and partially hidden communication) between the latter, the French editors (H. Arnold, D. Blanchard) and David Curtis. It seems to me that the French editors decided at a certain point to block the thing - and the Foundation (and Pluto Press) didn't thwart this, to say the least.

Lefty Hideaway hat gesagt…

Thank you for the insights and the initiative to make the mess public!