DAVID AMES CURTIS
27, rue Froidevaux 75014 Paris FRANCE TEL/FAX:
33 (0) 1 45 38 53 96
ATTENTION ALL CULTURAL WORKERS
|Subject:||Information for Our Phone Conversation at Noon Paris Time|
|Date:||Thu, 21 Apr 2016 11:55:07 +0200|
|From:||David Curtis <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|CC:||Richard Greeman <email@example.com>|
CORRESPONDENCE TIMELINE (I'VE TYPED THIS UP RATHER QUICKLY THIS MORNING FOR OUR MEETING IN A FEW MINUTES--AT NOON PARIS TIME):
March 18: Richard Greeman (RG) receives the S. ou B. Anthology draft translation from David Ames Curtis (DAC).
March 23: RG writes DAC:
Concerning your email, I admire your courage and persistance. Keep up the good fight to project the actual nature of the group that produced these historic documents. Im slowly reviewing parts of your translation and find nothing to quarrel with, indeed its very clear (considering that in my opinion Casto isnt always). You certainly deserve recognition for this work and all the energy you put into making it happen.
Based on a query from Pluto's David Castle, RG suggests a formal contract be signed between VSF and DAC.
March 25: DAC replies to say that RG's draft agreement contains dissonances with respect to the VSF/Acratie and VSF/Pluto agreements.
March 26: RG asks DAC to make appropriate changes to RG's draft contract.
April 1: Before providing specific suggestions for improvement's in DAC's Introduction, RG asks that the part of DAC's introduction mentioning how the French Editor's opposed DAC translating the Anthologie but then "relented" not be included, because it puts RG, "whom you cite by name, in a terribly awkward position."
April 2: DAC replies to RG's specific comments and asks for clarification about the paragraph Richard finds personally embarrassing to him:
First of all, as I wrote yesterday, I'm very confused about how you'd take my expressions of gratitude and admiration--there are so many destructive, sectarian, petty people in left-wing circles, and you are a great exception to that rule--as somehow negative or creating an awkward situation for you. I could replace "former S. ou B. member Richard Greeman " with "Victor Serge Foundation." But perhaps we need to talk directly by phone, because there is some cognitive dissonance here that might need discussion and sharing of information to be resolved satisfactorily. All I know is what you've told me about Daniel and Helen relenting and finally saying something like, "Maybe Curtis could do this." I think that you deserve credit as the constructive, successful go-between, even if I don't know (yet) all the details.
April 3: DAC follows up with RG's concern about the billing of the French Editors:
By the way, page ii of my translation already has:
Helen Arnold, Daniel Blanchard, Enrique Escobar, Daniel Ferrand, Georges Petit, and Jacques Signorelli have participated in the selection of articles as well as the drafting of the introductory texts. The main writer of the introductory text for each part has signed that text, but all of these texts have been discussed at length. S颡stien de Diesbach and Claude Lefort participated in a few meetings and offered useful advice about certain parts.
But, as I say, I can repeat this information in my Introduction if you think it is appropriate/desirable.
April 3: RG responds to DAC's reply about his Introduction, RG expressing his continued reservations but adding reassuringly:
It is really kind and conscientious of you to take the trouble of replying to my hastily-written notes at such length, although in a way it is entirely superfluous as of course you have every right to express yourself.
But, as I said, you are free to disregard my opinion, I have no right to censor you. That goes for all my comments, which were only meant as suggestions you might want to consider...
April 3: RG responds to DAC's clarification about the billing of the French Editors (viz., DAC's explanation to RG that the French Editors are mentioned, as per the French original, on p. ii of the MS):
Aha. That's different. We'll see.
April 4: DAC writes to RG concerning the proposed VSF/DAC agreement, specifically mentioning the "passed for press" provision:
The key is to have the "passed for press" provision I added--the English-language equivalent of "bon ࠴irer" (BAT) used in France. I've been burned too many times by publishers and editors who talk nice until they get their hands on the translation and then go off on their own and completely forget me as insignificant "work for hire." Pluto's violation of its "memorandum of agreement" with the VSF already (by dropping the subtitle) is premonitory.
April 4: Attaching the VSF/DAC agreement to be signed, RG replies to DAC concerning "passed for press":
Couldn't agree with you more. Publishers do this stuff, and translators get the screw.
April 4: DAC returns signed agreement to RG as a .pdf. The agreement includes the following provision:
1. DAC is the translator/editor of the work and can act directly with Pluto Press on the VSF's behalf. Authorization to publish his translation is contingent upon his giving his passed for press approval of the final corrected proof.
Not only is "passed for press" consciously approved and wholeheartedly endorsed by RG/VSF but DAC is clearly assigned the role of "translator/editor" and given the right to deal with Pluto directly on VSF's behalf. It would seem that the VSF's role is reduced mostly to receiving complimentary copies, royalty statements, and royalties and to disbursing royalties as DAC sees fit.
April 4: RG promises to send the signed contract to DAC's Paris address, adding by way of an enthusiastic endorsement:
Wonderful working with you -- I have never seen such total dedication, attention to detail and passionate involvement.
April 4: DAC replies to RG:
Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad my dog-w/-its-bone conscientiousness isn't too off-putting for you, as it can be for others at times. I've already expressed my admiration and gratitude for you in what will appear in print in my thanks at the end of the Intro.
April 6: DAC notifies RG:
Signed contract received. Thanks.
April 7: The very DAY AFTER RG received word that the signed contract has been received, Helen Arnold writes a letter to Castle stating:
We have just learned, fortuitously, of the existence of that project, a fact that is
scandalous in itself.
1. The letter raises the very issue of the Translator/Editor's Introduction DAC had just been discussing with RG.
2. The letter demands prior censorship RG had assured DAC would not occur.
3. The letter raises the very issue of DAC's agreement-sanctioned status as "translator/editor" that DAC had just been discussing with RG.
4. The letter fails to specify, however, WHO informed its writer (RG's "oldest and closest friends/comrades" Helen Arnold [along with her spouse Daniel Blanchard]) about the project.
5. The gap between RG receiving word that the DAC/VSF contact was finally received and the date of this letter is only 24 hours.
April 11: Pluto's David Castle writes to RG:
I was shocked to receive a letter today from Helen Arnold who claims she can speak for the editorial committee who prepared the Socialisme ou Barbarie anthology, and for the French publisher Acratie. I have attached her letter to this email, along with the letter to David Curtis which she refers to.
April 12: RG to Castle:
I am totally non-plussed! What a mess! And here I am caught right in the middle of it, having attempted to play the peacemaker and do a good deed in making SouB, which meant so much to me when I was young, available to English readers. And incidentally to make David Curtis happy, since I could see his heart was set on doing the translation and seems like such a sincere and friendly chap.
How could he have betrayed me so by keeping secret that formal, official Lettre recommand饠a copy of which you just sent me explicitly refusing him?? What a terrible situation he has put me in! I'm appalled.
whereas (see above):
1. RG had already received from DAC the reminder that RG had told DAC two years ago that French Editors Helen Arnold and Daniel Blanchard had "relented" in their earlier opposition to DAC as translator of the Anthologie.
2. RG had already received from DAC the reminder that RG had told DAC two years ago that French Editors Helen Arnold and Daniel Blanchard had acceded to DAC doing the translation, i.e., EIGHT years AFTER the 2006 letter saying he couldn't, thus making that earlier letter null and void.
3. RG had refused on the phone DAC's proposal to allow the former S. ou B. members to see and offer corrections for the draft translation. DAC would not have made this suggestion if he were trying to hide something from French Editors Helen Arnold and Daniel Blanchard.
4. RG subsequently refused to explain himself to DAC and then immediately hung up on DAC instead of providing an account of what happened, including explanations of the discrepancies noted above (1-3).
5. DAC remains ready to work with all parties who respect the existing agreements and DAC is willing to answer anyone's questions about all of the above factual information.