DAVID AMES CURTIS

27, rue Froidevaux 75014 Paris FRANCE TEL/FAX: 33 (0) 1 45 38 53 96
666 Main Street #305 Winchester, MA 01890 USA; TEL: 1-781-729-0523
CURTIS@MSH-PARIS.FR


GABRIEL ROCKHILL AND CONTINUUM BOOKS:
A NEW EXEMPLIFICATION OF “THE RISING TIDE OF INSIGNIFICANCY”

OR, HOW A PHILOSOPHER CHOSE THE PATH OF DECEPTION AND FAILED TO HONOR HIS WORD
IN ORDER TO GAIN THE DUBIOUS DISTINCTION OF PUBLISHING
A SCAB TRANSLATION OF THE WORK OF CORNELIUS CASTORIADIS


 

On December 21, 2008, the week of the eleventh anniversary of Cornelius Castoriadis’s death, a young philosophy professor from Villanova, Gabriel Rockhill, came to my home in Paris. He had contacted me the previous month via e-mail to inquire about publishing the Cornelius Castoriadis/Agora International Interview as part of a book project that would include a translation of the 1998 posthumous Castoriadis tome Post-scriptum sur l'insignifiance.

When we met, I recounted to him in depth the ongoing and still unresolved labor dispute between myself and the Castoriadis literary heirs. Apparently rather overwhelmed by this information, which he said was news to him, he promised me over tea that he would definitely speak with me before proceeding any further.

In order to make sure that he had all the relevant facts in hand, I sent him a long e-mail that provided links and other information about this labor dispute, which has gone on since 2003, when, after an agreement was worked out with Castoriadis’s widow (see “8-Point Agreement Drafted by Zoe Castoriadis and David Ames Curtis”) that would have enabled me to fulfill already-signed contracts with Stanford University Press, the heirs refused to sign off on that already finalized agreement (see “August 5, 2003 Letter to Sparta Castoriadis from David Ames Curtis”). Instead, with the heirs’ assent or acquiescence, SUP hired a scab translator, Helen Arnold--who later (November 2009), however, publicly acknowledged her unprofessional behavior while denouncing SUP’s “incompetence and disorganization” (see Arnold's “Texte provisoire” [in English], as well as “Public Statement of Agreement and Resolution: Helen Arnold and David Ames Curtis [Draft: 28 x 2009],” which Arnold refused to sign.).

(So far, three electro-Samizdat Castoriadis books, “translated from the French and edited anonymously as a public service,” have appeared online as integral parts of this continuing labor dispute:

The Rising Tide of Insignificancy (The Big Sleep) http://www.notbored.org/RTI.pdf (electronic publication date: December 4, 2003).
Figures of the Thinkable including Passion and Knowledge http://www.notbored.org/FTPK.pdf (electronic publication date: February 2005).
A Society Adrift: More Interviews and Discussions on The Rising Tide of Insignificancy, Including Revolutionary Perspectives Today http://www.notbored.org/ASA.pdf (electronic publication date: October 2010).

The third one, published online after the meeting with Rockhill, offers an alternative to the “astounding ignorance and incompetence”of Arnold’s subsequent (2009) French-to-English “translation” of Castoriadis’s Une Société à la dérive at Fordham University Press. That Arnold translation was so bad that one translator of Castoriadis’s work into a third language was led to comment: “a probable result will be that a reader relying on this version will blame the author for this sloppiness—and that's the worst thing a translator can perpetrate. One wishes that those who are respons[i]ble will act.”)

Rockhill wrote back right away to reiterate that he was “going to step back from anything with Castoriadis in order to digest all of this information.” In order to make sure that his December 21, 2008 promise was preserved in writing, I wrote to him on January 26, 2009: “I'm gladdened that you made an express commitment to inform me before you would ever proceed to publish Castoriadis material in English, given the shadow of the scab translation that still hangs over the CC literary executors.”

Rockhill never wrote back to dispute this account of the commitment he made at our meeting the month before. I thought, therefore, that the matter was ended, since Rockhill--who seemed like a nice young man, though thoroughly naive in his approach to Castoriadis’s political work, about which he did not seem particularly well informed--appeared to be an honorable person who had stumbled by accident into a complicated situation that was way over his head.

It was thus an extremely unpleasant surprise, and a devastating disappointment, when, on June 22, 2010, I received an e-mail from Tom Crick, Assistant Editor of “Philosophy and Religious [sic] Studies” at Continuum Books. Giving no indication that he knew of my exchange with his own employee Rockhill, Crick offered to pay me 40 pounds to read another manuscript about Castoriadis, merely mentioning in passing that Continuum was going to publish Rockhill’s translation of Castoriadis. One might have thought that, even if it didn't care about suddenly becoming entangled in an ongoing labor dispute, a highly respected publishing house like Continuum (the Independent Publishers Guild’s 2011 Independent Publisher of the Year) would have second thoughts when faced with written evidence of their being misled or kept in the dark by their own translator. A good capitalist enterprise, however, Continuum refused even to continue a discussion with me about the matter, citing their purchase of translation rights as sole and sufficient justification and thereby ignoring all potential ethical issues.

I write these lines in order that people may be fully informed about the unethical behavior of Mr. Rockhill, a trained philosopher. In the e-mail exchanges reprinted below, we glimpse how a “professor” of philosophy has chosen the path of deception and failed to honor his word in order to gain the dubious distinction of publishing a scab translation of a work written by--of all people!--Cornelius Castoriadis, the philosopher and political thinker who denounced the “rising tide of insignificancy” in contemporary society. But then, as Henry David Thoreau wrote nearly 150 years ago:

“There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers. Yet it is admirable to profess because it was once admirable to live. To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust.”

Gabriel Rockhill, who presented himself to me as an honest and sincere person, has broken that trust with me. He also has--barring the hypothesis that Continuum Books is simply covering up for him and intentionally sent me an insulting e-mail offer of 40 pounds to forget about an ongoing labor dispute in which I am still owed approximately US$5,0000.00 and have been prevented from continuing the work I pursed with Castoriadis’s full and enthusiastic support the final 13 years of this life--deceived his own employer and neglected to keep that employer informed of his actions while representing Continuum Books in the public realm (publishing books and ongoing labor disputes are decidedly not just “private” matters).*

One last point. It is amusing to note that Rockhill’s translation apparently includes a somewhat pompously titled “Editor’s Introduction: Eros of Inquiry--An Aperçu of Castoriadis’ Life and Work.” Once again, as with Arnold’s poorly-translated Castoriadis volume for Fordham University Press, a scab translator has provided a foreword. Yet, as much as one was ever able to discern any real principle behind the actions of the Castoriadis heirs, it was their objection, formulated in quite general terms, to any translator writing such forewords, which they deemed unnecessary and somehow illegitimate. (This was, of course, an absurd proposition, and Castoriadis himself told me that my Translator’s Foreword for World in Fragments was one of the best pieces ever written on his work.) We see once again that the Castoriadis heirs--Zoé Castoriadis, Sparta Castoriadis, and Cybèle Castoriadis--as well as the so-called “Association Cornelius Castoriadis” they and the ACC Council** control through proxy votes used during Council elections--while refusing to make the membership list available to the rank-and-file members, and with all of this Council’s meetings being held at unnamed locations and at unspecified times--rely on secrecy, deceit, blatant hypocrisy, and broken commitments in a glaringly contradictory attempt to promote the work of the revolutionary democratic thinker Cornelius Castoriadis.

David Ames Curtis, Paris, March 2011

*Gabriel Rockhill’s collaborators in this endeavor, all of whom have been given an opportunity to dissociate themselves from Professor Rockhill’s unethical behavior, are: Derek Aggleton, Peter Deangelis, Jessica Elkayam, Katherine Filbert, John V. Garner, Patricia Grosse, Alexander Kratchman, Anna Luckini, Adrienne St. Clair, Richard Strong, and Summer Renault-Steele.
**Members of the ACC Council: Cybèle Castoriadis, Sparta Castoriadis, Zoé Castoriadis, Philipppe Caumières, Vincent Descombes, Pierre Dumesnil, Daniel Ferrand, Olivier Fressard, Sophie Klimis, and Nicolas Poirier.

____________________________________________________________________________________

Below, for the record, the relevant electronic correspondence between myself, Gabriel Rockhill, and Continuum Books.

____________________________________________________________________________________

At 04:59 PM 11/29/2008, you wrote:
Hello,
I have read the excellent interview with Castoriadis that is on the Agora International Website, and I wanted to inquire into the possibility of publishing it in the English translation of Post-scriptum sur l'insignifiance, which I'm currently working on with a colleague. Since the interview provides an excellent account of the relationship between Castoriadis' own trajectory and his philosophic concerns, it would definitely enhance the volume we are working on. There would still be a few details to sort out with the editor, but I first wanted to contact you to see if you'd be open to the idea (provided that the interview hasn't already been published in book format).
Thank you very much,
Gabriel Rockhill

___
Gabriel Rockhill
Director Atelier de théorie critique in Paris
Assistant Professor
Department of Philosophy
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Ave
Villanova, PA 19085
USA
+1-610-519-3067

____________________________________________________________________________________

Date: Sat, 29 Nov 2008 17:08:23 +0100
To: Gabriel Rockhill <gabriel.rockhill@villanova.edu>
From: David Curtis <curtis@msh-paris.fr>
Subject: Re: Castoriadis Interview
Bcc: aafm

Dear Gabriel Rockhill:

Thanks for your inquiry and your kind words about our CC/AI Interview

I haven't heard about an English translation of the Post-Scriptum. Who is the publisher? With whom are you working on this translation project? With whom have you been in contact in France about this project?

Looking forward to hearing back from you.

Sincerely,

David Ames Curtis

____________________________________________________________________________________

At 04:28 AM 12/1/2008, you wrote:
Hello,
The project is for Continuum, and I haven't been in touch with anyone in France. Did you have other publication plans for the interview, or do you think it might be possible to integrate it into this project?
Thanks,
Gabriel Rockhill

____________________________________________________________________________________

Date: Mon, 01 Dec 2008 14:39:32 +0100
To: Gabriel Rockhill <gabriel.rockhill@villanova.edu>
From: David Curtis <curtis@msh-paris.fr>
Subject: RE: Castoriadis Interview

Dear Gabriel:

Thanks for this information. Are you in Paris now? (I saw the line "Director Atelier de théorie critique in Paris.") Might I invite you over some afternoon for tea or coffee and we could talk about this? (I live near the Montparnasse Cemetery.)

Best,

David

____________________________________________________________________________________

Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2008 00:20:52 +0100
To: Gabriel Rockhill <gabriel.rockhill@villanova.edu>
From: David Curtis <curtis@msh-paris.fr>
Subject: RE: Castoriadis Interview

Dear Gabriel:

We enjoyed the opportunity to meet with you and learn more about your work while also sharing with you about ours.

Below, the "executive summary" for electro-Samizdat Castoriadis translations in English, which will introduce you to the controversy Scott McLemee wrote about in his Chronicle of Higher Education article, "The Strange Afterlife of Cornelius Castoriadis: The story of a revered European thinker, a literary legacy, family squabbles, and Internet bootlegging."--which, by the way, can be found at:

http://www.notbored.org/strange-afterlife.html

If you're interested, you could then start with the foreword:

http://www.notbored.org/foreword.html

The Not Bored general introduction to The Rising Tide of Insignificancy (The Big Sleep):

http://www.notbored.org/cornelius-castoriadis.html

which leads to the 444-page .pdf file:

http://www.notbored.org/RTI.pdf

My statements in relation to the electronic publication of RTI (TBS):

http:///www.kaloskaisophos.org/rt/rtdac/rtdacrtistatement1.html

http://www.kaloskaisophos.org/rt/rtdac/rtdacrtistatement2.html

http://www.kaloskaisophos.org/rt/rtdac/rtdactf/rtdacftp&kblogstatement3.html
Soutien du travail jaune?/Support of Scab Labor? (Vincent Descombes, Sparta Castoriadis, Zoé
Castoriadis, Pierre Dumesnil, Cybèle Castoriadis, Philippe Caumières, Daniel Ferrand, Nicolas Poirier,
Olivier Fressard, Chantal Bégaud) concernant/concerning Figures of the Thinkable de/by Cornelius
Castoriadis

The second book, Figures of the Thinkable (including Passion and Knowledge), is available at:

http://www.notbored.org/FTPK.html

There are also these:

http://www.kaloskaisophos.org/rt/rtdac/rtdactf/rtdacftp&kblogstatement1.html
Statement of David Ames Curtis concerning the announcement of the PDF electronic publication of
Cornelius Castoriadis/Paul Cardan's Figures of the Thinkable (Including Passion and Knowledge)

http://www.kaloskaisophos.org/rt/rtdac/rtdactf/rtdacftp&kblogstatement2.html
Statement of David Ames Curtis concerning the announcement of Stanford University Press's
publication of a scab translation of Cornelius Castoriadis's Figures of the Thinkable

Finally, there is a lecture I gave in Brussels back in 2004 in French, which I haven't had a chance to translate and deliver anywhere in English yet (there is a German translation scheduled for publication in a German review):

http://1libertaire.free.fr/Castoriadis45.html
David Ames Curtis. "Effectivité et réflexivité dans l'expérience d'un traducteur de Cornelius
Castoriadis". Conférence prononcée le 28 mai 2004 au Séminaire Interdisciplinaire de Recherches
Littéraires (SIRL) des Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis (Bruxelles), lors du colloque "L'Imaginaire au
carrefour de l'interdisciplinarité. Autour de Cornelius Castoriadis" (27-28 mai 2004).

Looking forward to hearing from you again after Xmas. Happy holidays.

Best,

David

____________________________________________________________________________________

At 08:58 PM 12/22/2008, you wrote:
Thanks for all of this information, David. For the time being, I'm overwhelmed by a number of other projects so I'm going to step back from anything with Castoriadis in order to digest all of this information.
I look forward to working together in the future,
Gabriel

____________________________________________________________________________________

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2009 14:19:55 +0100
To: Gabriel Rockhill <gabriel.rockhill@villanova.edu>
From: David Curtis <curtis@msh-paris.fr>
Subject: RE: Castoriadis Interview

Dear Gabriel:

Thanks for writing back. And my apologies for not replying sooner. I've been basically overwhelmed with work, followed by an illness this past week.

It's a shame that there wasn't a way for you to separate out things a bit more. It would have been enjoyable to discuss further with you while you were here, even if things proved difficult to digest.

In any case, I'm gladdened that you made an express commitment to inform me before you would ever proceed to publish Castoriadis material in English, given the shadow of the scab translation that still hangs over the CC literary executors.

Please do not hesitate to let me know the next time you are in Paris.

Best,

David

____________________________________________________________________________________

At 06:04 AM 6/22/2010, you wrote:
Dear Mr Curtis,

I hope this finds you well and that you don’t mind this unsolicited approach.

I have recently received a proposal for a new book entitled Castoriadis, Foucault and Autonomy, by Marcela Tovar Restrepo.

Given your expertise, I wonder if you might be interested in supplying a brief review of the proposal before it is presented to our editorial board. In return, I can offer you a cheque for £40, or £80 in Continuum books.

In the hope that you will be able to help me with this I attach the proposal document, along with our reader’s report form, to this message. Ideally, I would need the review within the next two to four weeks.

You might also be interested to learn that we are soon to publish the following collection of interviews and dialogues with Castoriadis entitled Postscript on Insignificance: http://www.continuumbooks.com/books/detail.aspx?BookId=134451&SearchType=Basic

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

With all best wishes

Yours,

Tom Crick
Assistant Editor, Philosophy and Religious Studies
+44 (0) 20 7922 0896 (direct dial)
Please visit our blog at http://continuumphilosophy.typepad.com

The Continuum International Publishing Group | www.continuumbooks.com
\brdrth
The Tower Building, 11 York Road, London SE1 7NX | 80 Maiden Lane, Suite 704, New York, NY 10038
Tel +44 (0)20 7922 0880 Fax +44 (0)20 7922 0881 Tel +1 212 953 5858 Fax +1 212 953 5944
Registered in England No. 3833148

____________________________________________________________________________________

Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2010 17:52:37 -0400
To: "Tom Crick" <tcrick@continuumbooks.com>
From: David Curtis <curtis@msh-paris.fr>
Subject: Re: Castoriadis, Foucault and Autonomy -- Marcela Tovar Resrepo
Cc: gabriel.rockhill@villanova.edu

Dear Tom Crick:

Thank you for you e-missive.

I'm rather surprised to learn that you would be projecting to publish a translation of a Castoriadis text from, of all people, Gabriel Rockhill. As I wrote to Mr. Rockhill on January 26, 2009, following his December 21, 2008 visit to my home in Paris:

I'm gladdened that you made an express commitment to inform me before you would ever proceed to publish Castoriadis material in English, given the shadow of the scab translation that still hangs over the CC literary executors.

As I have been in touch directly with Mr. Rockhill since that date on other matters (his last e-mail to me dates from April 1, 2010) and as he has not mentioned to me a word about this project since my January 26, 2009 e-missive to him, it would seem that he is someone who is unable to keep his express commitments and thus is a wholly unreliable collaborator. With your innocently contacting me in this way, I can only conclude that Mr. Rockhill has kept you in the dark, too. I cc: him this letter, in case he would like to respond to us and explain his unprofessional behavior.

I strongly recommend that you immediately cease all plans to publish what would amount to a scab translation and that you do not resume any activity in that direction until the prior and still existing labor conflict can be resolved amicably with the Castoriadis literary heirs. That would be the honorable as well as wise thing to do. You can contact the literary heirs directly to inform them that you do not wish to be caught crossing what amounts to an ongoing picket line, while I await the resumption of negotiations with them.

I remain available to provide you with any further information you might desire and I would be glad to talk with you on the phone or via Skype at your convenience.

Please be so kind as to acknowledge receipt of the present e-missive and let me know whether or not you plan to proceed at this time with a project that would bring you nothing but dishonor and disgrace.

Sincerely,

David Ames Curtis
27, rue Froidevaux
75014 Paris FRANCE
TEL/FAX: 33 (0) 1 45 38 53 96
E-MAIL: curtis@msh-paris.fr
SKYPE: davidamescurtis
URL: http://www.kaloskaisophos.org/rt/rtdac/rtdac.html

____________________________________________________________________________________

At 07:08 AM 6/24/2010, you wrote:

Dear David Ames Curtis,

First of all, please allow me to introduce myself as the Acting Senior Editor for Philosophy at the Continuum International Publishing Group. I wanted to write back to you to follow up on your email to my colleague Tom Crick regarding our forthcoming publication in English of a collection of interviews with Cornelius Castoriadis, entitled Postscript on Insignificance.

We reached agreement with Editions de L’Aube, publisher of the original French language edition, and the Castoriadis estate for the rights to publish a translation of this title in English last year and our plan is to publish that translation in February 2011. Our translator for the book is Professor Gabriel Rockhill of Villanova University, working with John V. Garner, also of Villanova University. Not only have we had a long, happy and productive relationship with Professor Rockhill here at Continuum, but he is also someone who has built an undeniably excellent track-record as a scholar, editor and translator in his field. I have been in touch with Professor Rockhill in the light of your email and he has made it absolutely clear to me (and he has asked me to make this known) that he has never at any point entered into any commitment to seek approval to translate the work of Castoriadis from either yourself or anyone other than the proper rights holders (in this case Editions de L’Aube and the Castoriadis estate). Those rights having been acquired properly, I am entirely happy that we are entitled to proceed with our publication of Postscript on Insignificance as planned next year.

I hope and believe that the publication of Gabriel Rockhill’s and John V. Garner’s translation of the book will be an important contribution to the effort to make Castoriadis’ work and ideas available to the widest possible audience. I hope, too, that anyone who supports this effort will receive the publication of the translation in a spirit of supportive and constructive engagement.

Yours Sincerely,


David Avital
Acting Senior Editor | Philosophy

Continuum International Publishing Group
The Tower Building| 11 York Road| London SE1 7NX| UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7922 0955 | Fax: +44 (0)20 7922 0881
Email: davital@continuumbooks.com
www.continuumbooks.com

**Read the new Continuum Philosophy blog!**
http://continuumphilosophy.typepad.com

The Continuum International Publishing Group | www.continuumbooks.com
\brdrth
The Tower Building, 11 York Road, London SE1 7NX | 80 Maiden Lane, Suite 704, New York, NY 10038
Tel +44 (0)20 7922 0880 Fax +44 (0)20 7922 0881 Tel +1 212 953 5858 Fax +1 212 953 5944
Registered in England No. 3833148

____________________________________________________________________________________

From: David Curtis [mailto:curtis@msh-paris.fr]
Sent: 24 June 2010 15:02
To: David Avital
Cc: gabriel.rockhill@villanova.edu; Tom Crick
Subject: Re: Translation of "Postcript on Insignificance" by Cornelius Castoriadis

Dear David Avital:

Thank you for your kindness and promptness in replying to my e-missive to Mr. Crick from yesterday, which must have seemed like it was coming out of the blue, since Mr. Rockhill seems, quite unprofessionally, to have kept your company completely in the dark. Your willingness to engage in a dialogue in order to resolve this matter is all to your credit, and I trust that you will keep lines of communication open so as to avoid an unjust outcome that would have highly negative consequences for your company and its reputation.

My wife comes from West Virginia, where one speaks of "storying" to avoid saying directly that someone is an outright liar. Mr. Rockhill is obviously storying with you. As a professional translator, Mr. Rockhill could have replied to the January 26, 2009 e-missive I sent to him summarizing our December 21, 2008 meeting at my home and said that there was a mistaken impression on my part. He did not do so since there wasn't one. As I mentioned, I have been in contact with him since that date, so he has had every opportunity to do so. Instead, he has broken his word and apparently chosen to hide from you the controversy surrounding the ongoing labor dispute that concerns the English-language translation of Cornelius Castoriadis's works.

I say "apparently," for I strongly doubt that Mr. Rockhill would have informed Mr. Crick about this matter and that Mr. Crick would have then knowingly tried to buy me off for 40 pounds to read an unrelated MS.--as he proposed in his initial, seemingly quite innocent e-missive to me, which mentioned the Rockhill translation project only in passing--when I am in fact still owed approximately US$5,000.00 for my services as a translator.

Now that you have been apprised of this ongoing labor dispute, you and your colleagues cannot hide yourselves from it.

The proper thing to do in such a case is to write to the publisher and to the literary heirs to say that your trusted colleague deliberately hid from you an ongoing labor dispute and that you therefore must, to preserve your honor and your reputation in the publishing world, withdraw from the project until such time as the ongoing labor dispute is resolved.

What remains to be seen is whether you will now do so. The alternative is to bring dishonor and disgrace to your publishing house and to embroil you and your colleagues for an indefinite length of time in a dispute you were apparently led into unknowingly by a trusted colleague who unprofessionally plays fast and loose with the truth for his own convenience. Not an auspicious beginning for a press that wished to publish in translation one of the foremost revolutionary thinkers of the 20th century. Do you really want to be seen as the very exemplification of the "the rising tide of insignificancy" Castoriadis denounced? And poor Mr. Rockhill, who embarks on what might have been a promising career as a translator by inviting the designation "scab translator." If he proceeds, he will have that designation hanging around his neck until the day he dies or until he recognizes publicly his error and makes proper amends for it.

I trust that you will reply to this e-missive as you have to the previous one, with an open mind and a willingness to consider the justness of your actions. I await your reply and remain available to speak with you by phone or via Skype at your convenience in order to clear up any confusions and to answer any outstanding questions.

Sincerely,

David Ames Curtis
P.S.: What else might Mr. Rockhill me hiding from you, now that you know that he has misled you once?

____________________________________________________________________________________

At 04:00 AM 6/30/2010, you wrote:
Dear David Curtis,

Thank you for your reply and my apologies for having taken a couple of days to respond in turn during a very busy few days in the office.

I have had a chance to properly consider your email now. To reiterate what I said in my last message, we acquired the rights to publish a translation of the collection of interviews with Cornelius Castoriadis (published in French as Post-scriptum sur l’insignificance) last year from the legitimate rights-holders. Having acquired those rights, we commissioned a translation of the work which we are due to publish in February 2011 as planned.

I reiterate, too, my hope that the community of scholars eager to see the wider dissemination of Castoriadis’ ideas can receive the publication of our translation of this work next year in a spirit of supportive and constructive engagement.

Yours Sincerely,


David Avital
Acting Senior Editor | Philosophy

Continuum International Publishing Group
The Tower Building| 11 York Road| London SE1 7NX| UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7922 0955 | Fax: +44 (0)20 7922 0881
Email: davital@continuumbooks.com
www.continuumbooks.com

____________________________________________________________________________________

Date: Sun, 18 Jul 2010 04:26:09 +0200
To: "David Avital" <davital@continuumbooks.com>
From: David Curtis <curtis@msh-paris.fr>
Subject: RE: Translation of "Postcript on Insignificance" by Cornelius Castoriadis
Cc: gabriel.rockhill@villanova.edu, tcrick@continuumbooks.com

PRE-SCRIPT: NOT SURE YOU RECEIVED MY LAST E-MISSIVE, FROM JUNE 30. HERE IT IS AGAIN, BELOW. LOOKING FORWARD TO YOUR RESPONSE. PLEASE RECALL THAT YOUR PEOPLE CONTACTED ME AND ALSO THAT YOUR COLLABORATOR MADE A PROMISE TO ME HE HAS DECIDED NOT TO HONOR.
____________________________________________________________________________________

Dear David Avital:

Thank you for your response.

However, you have not addressed the crucial question, among other ones, of there being an ongoing labor dispute. Why would you think that the "community of scholars" (which already betrays an inappropriate bias in favor of academia, or at least makes no mention of political activists when it comes to the potential audience for Castoriadis's work) would welcome your decision to publish this very political Castoriadis volume in particular while there is an ongoing labor dispute around the work of this revolutionary thinker? Is it the policy of Continuum Books that if something is for sale on the market, no moral considerations need even be considered? That would be an amusing way of bringing Castoriadis work to the attention of anyone.

I have sincerely engaged with you about this matter that your colleague Mr. Crick brought up with me, offering me forty pounds while I am owed approximately US$5,000.00. You have also said nothing in your latest e-missive about the fact that either your colleague, Mr. Crick, wished to insult me by trying to buy me off with this paltry sum or your collaborator, Mr. Rockhill, has deliberately withheld information from you in order to sneak this translation project by you without furnishing you the information necessary for you to have "full knowledge of the relevant facts" (a favorite Castoriadis expression in English). Which is it? Either way, there is a great moral failing on the part of your company, one that will not fail to come out. You can no longer plead ignorance when this matter comes back to haunt you and your colleagues and your company's reputation.

I once again sincerely commend you for your willingness to write back. Let's open a dialogue that considers all issues on both sides instead of attempting to cut that dialogue short by avoiding the issues thus raised. This is, indeed, in your own interest, for you may be in the process of making one of the decisions that, in retrospect, you will regret most in your life.

Awaiting your full and considered reply.

Sincerely,

David Ames Curtis

 

[N.B.: No reply from Continuum was ever received.]