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theres plenty of argument and some of it is tendentious, the level erudition is exemplary

a lot of it is abstracted to a glossy universalism, neutrality of style

he can write very well when he wants to

nakhchivan, Sunday, 24 August 2014 15:21 (nine years ago) link

I shall persist.

Fizzles, Sunday, 24 August 2014 15:22 (nine years ago) link

i don't know whether his assertion that he started to write so he could buy an apartment is absurd or meaningful (his works do not in any age seem commercial enough to warrant such an assertion, and yet i'm probably conditioned by a moribund lit scene, and after all, he has his apartment).

esp because surely he could've bought one on the back of his work as a Doctor. The thing here is more like 'oh i don't care about literature I am doing this for the money' (Thomas Bernhard said the same thing when he was accepting literary prizes; there is a disgust @ moribund lit scenes entwined in all of this and that is how it comes out), which is clearly ludicrous as that is clearly not the way to go about it.

I think I'll need to get Normance at the next LRB 10% off night

Gotta read Magris on the Habsburg myth in literature!

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 24 August 2014 22:28 (nine years ago) link

there's no reason to persist if it doesnt work between you and him, as much as i like magris

he is seldom trying to charm his reader, possibly even to engage them, his 'blindly' has been sitting here somewhere unread save for the first few pages since publication

the novella 'inferences from a sabre' is the most engaging of his books in translation

Nothing less than the Spirit of the Age (nakhchivan), Sunday, 24 August 2014 22:33 (nine years ago) link

Thanks for your account Fizzles I was just watching that interview again this morning and its very frustrating to watch the interviewer interrupt when the best approach could be to leave Celine to rant away - he seems to write as he talks and there is another interview found later where he does just that to the last question, to effect. otoh For me a gap was around his collaboration. I don't whether there was a clause or not pre-interview, or whether so much time has passed...

the additional bit about museums and countryside is lol to an outside, well to me, because you see in his manner, a congenital or pathological ferocious morbidity, that clearly precludes the happy experience of that sort of activity

For me this was more to w/his assertion at the beginning of his writing as an artisan/craftsman. It follows later on when he points to all those encyclopedias and is rather disdainful of that notion of looking them up and finding stories - rather he is a 'chronicler' (not a writer, a chronicler is a kid of artisan), and he wouldn't have time for encyclopedic novels like GR (probably the other great indirect account of WWII for me but in a completely different direction, they are not in conversation w/each other). Celine lives things, survives and tells us about them - and given how I dislike most encyclopedic fiction..

(Besides all that, countrysides (and I've only spend a little time in them) can be such unhappy places too, their vastness leading to these existential states (I was watching a film just last night which seemed to talk about this too so maybe I am giving this more attention than needed). The flipside of being confined in a cell is to have the whole world in front of you with no one immediately in it. I'll stop there...)

xyzzzz__, Monday, 25 August 2014 09:55 (nine years ago) link

four months pass...

got a copy of Danube for three quid yay.

Hope to make my way into it soon - from the index there is a ton on Musil, Roth, Holderlin, Kafka..

Could be seen as a companion to this film, also a journey along the Danube (?)


xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 14 January 2015 22:31 (nine years ago) link

one year passes...

hadn't heard about this... & (per the final paragraph) that his widow is still alive O_o

no lime tangier, Sunday, 13 March 2016 23:30 (eight years ago) link

Louis-Ferdinand Destouches met Cillie Pam in Paris, at the Café de la Paix, in September 1932. Destouches was a physician who worked at a public clinic in Clichy treating poor and working-class patients; Pam was a twenty-seven-year-old Viennese gymnastics instructor eleven years his junior on a visit to the city. Destouches suggested a stroll in the Bois de Boulogne, took Pam to dinner later that night, and afterward took her home. Two weeks together began, after which Pam returned to her work and life in Vienna. Over the next seven years, they saw each other infrequently but corresponded regularly. Pam, who was Jewish, married and had a son. Destouches, who wrote in his free time, became famous shortly after their brief affair, his first novel, Voyage au bout de la nuit, published at the end of 1932 under the pseudonym “Céline” (his maternal grandmother’s first name), proving an enormous success. In February 1939, Destouches received word that Pam had lost her husband: he had been seized, sent to Dachau, and killed. On February 21, Destouches wrote to Pam, who had fled abroad:

Dear Cillie,

What awful news! At least you’re far away, on the other side of the world. Were you able to take a little money with you? Obviously, you’re going to start a new life over there. How will you work? Where will Europe be by the time you receive this letter? We’re living over a volcano.

On my side, my little dramas are nothing compared to yours (for the moment), but tragedy looms nonetheless….

Because of my anti-Semitic stance I’ve lost all my jobs (Clichy, etc.) and I’m going to court on March 8. You see, Jews can persecute too.

How a reader responds to this letter is, I suspect, a fair predictor of how capable he or she might be of tolerating the extreme disjunctions that predominate in the life and art of its author. One of Céline’s biographers, for example, describes the letter as possessing “a curious blend of concern and sheer tactless selfishness,” a response that itself seems to exhibit its own curious blend of sheer shortsightedness and apologism. Another biographer calls it, reasonably if inadequately, “astonishing,” but does offer the useful detail that Pam, upon receipt of the letter, “never saw [Destouches] again and stopped writing.”

tremendous crime wave and killing wave (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Monday, 14 March 2016 00:33 (eight years ago) link

(from here, a very good read imo: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2010/01/14/uncovering-celine/)

tremendous crime wave and killing wave (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Monday, 14 March 2016 00:40 (eight years ago) link

Yeah, v good piece - read it at the time.

Inevitably some of Céline’s greatest supporters have emerged from France’s far right. The website Egalité et Reconciliation, run by Alain Soral, a former member of the Front National, accused Bourdieu of “assassinating” Céline. It said Bourdieu and leading lady Géraldine Pailhas, who plays Céline’s wife, Lucette Almenzor, were part of a “champagne socialist” set who control French cinema and members of a “band of leftwing intellectuals … a tribe whose members can be found in almost all César-winning films. They are trophy collectors.”“A half century after the disappearance of the biggest French writer ever, it’s not useful, that a film realised by the son of a self-righteous thinker... should reduce Céline to his antisemitism,” it said.


xyzzzz__, Monday, 14 March 2016 11:27 (eight years ago) link

five years pass...

Marie Darrieussecq serving up a fine endorsement for Damian Catani's forthcoming biography of Louis-Ferdinand Céline: ‘One of the best French writers ever, who re-invented the very language of literature, and a complete SALOPARD.’ pic.twitter.com/hMe4wc8RZk

— David Hayden (@seventydys) June 29, 2021

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 29 June 2021 11:36 (three years ago) link

ten months pass...

Reading it atm !

AlXTC from Paris, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 07:32 (two years ago) link

How is it?

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 07:35 (two years ago) link

I read Death on the Installment Plan during my first trip to London while staying in a youth hostel. I think I read Journey to the End of the Night on a subsequent trip, but I am not certain about this. That they are explicitly excluded in the question for this thread makes me think I should read further or revisit those novels again. (Celine seems right for London because he makes me think of a more miserable version of Baudelaire, which is all I could experience of the city at the time and perhaps forever.)

youn, Thursday, 19 May 2022 12:34 (two years ago) link

Well, I'm 2/3 in and it's... Celinien !
It's unfinished and reconstructed in parts so a bit inconsistent but so far it's a powerful, carnal, dirty and vibrant testimony to WWI.
And it's pretty short.

AlXTC from Paris, Thursday, 19 May 2022 12:57 (two years ago) link

I had a version of Death on The Installment Plan translated by Billy Childish in the late 80s. I think that's what he called it and I do like that name and I think it is the one I first heard about the book under. Seems to be more evocative than Death ON Credit. the relentless drip of a thing hanging over one incrementally and all like that. I did think that name was older anyway.

I have had a couple of other titles by the writer but I think I only read part of them. THink I had both Castle To Castle and North. Given to me by the girlfriend of the guy from whom I used to buy the posters I sold.

Stevolende, Thursday, 19 May 2022 13:02 (two years ago) link

"That they are explicitly excluded in the question for this thread makes me think I should read further or revisit those novels again."

Not for any reason other than that these are the books that most people would've read.

Aixtc - thanks for your post. Wonder if they'll get translated anytime soon.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 19 May 2022 13:15 (two years ago) link

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