VERNAY, Herve. Nous avons la douleur de vous faire part de la perte de GUY DEBORD mort à l’Internationale Situationniste. Strasbourg, [December 1966]. 14 x 10 cm. postcard housed in a 14.5 x 11 cm. envelope.
Fake mortuary card that reads “It is with profound sadness that we inform you of the passing of Guy Debord, who died at the Internationale Situationniste” (translation is mine).
This card is the work of André Vernay, who once lived in the same apartment as Bruno Vayr-Piova and Tony Verlaan . According to André Bertrand and André Schneider, “in December 1966, Hervé Vernay, who was upset to have been kept on the sidelines of the Strasbourg scandal, sought to discredit his former comrades to Guy Debord” (Le scandale de Strasbourg mis à nu par ses celibataires même , p.139). In a letter to Guy Debord, Vernay had already expressed what he saw as contradictions between the pamphlet De la misère en milieu étudiant (released in November 1966) and Situationist ideas. Debord would write back on 26 December 1966, expressing his “complete solidarity” with the Strasbourg students (and their incendiary brochure) and refusing an in-person meeting with Vernay (see Correspondance vol.3, p.185).
This fake mortuary card would be reproduced in Internationale Situationniste 11, where it is described as an “example of anti-SI propaganda, distributed anonymously at the General Assembly of the French National Student Union in January ” (p.28)
Our copy comes in an original envelope that was mailed to HEATWAVE (a magazine launched by future Situationist member Charles Radcliffe in July 1966) and postmarked 24 December 1966.
In looking at this card, one cannot help but recall Guy Debord’s own fake mortuary notice, which he wrote with Hervé Falcou on the occasion of their success at the French baccalaureate exam (July 9, 1951). See Guy Debord, Oeuvres (p.41)
We locate no copy on OCLC or in the trade.