|Title||:||Celine: A Biography|
|Number of Pages||:||352 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Celine: A Biography Reviews
Louis-Ferdinand Céline is a writer about which opinion is still polarized after more than half a century. In he 1930s. he wrote two masterpieces -- Journey to the End of the Night and Death on the Installment Plan -- but as the decade progressed and the mood in France grew increasingly sullen, he wrote several anti-Semitic pamphlets. He almost appeared to welcome a Nazi victory. Except for one thing ...Céline hated everybody. During the Occupation, the Nazis tried to build him up as a great writer, but Céline wasn't having any part of it. He was an anarchist at heart who had said equally damaging things about the Communists and American Capitalists. Naturally, the French Resistance wanted his hide; and after the war, he had to escape with various unsavory Vichy officials to Germany and Denmark. He was arrested and spent time in solitary confinement in Copenhagen before being released.All this time, Céline was not just a writer: He was a physician concentrating his practice on the illnesses of the poor. Looked at in this light, he was a demonstrably good man -- a sort of irreligious Mother Theresa.Patrick McCarthy 's Celine: A Biography is probably more a work of literary criticism than biography, but it does cover both in its own way. The writer was never a willing subject for a biographer, even though his is one of the most eventful stories of the 20th Century. I for one like his work -- and deplore many of his prejudices. In a way, so did Céline: He had many Jewish friends. According to a New Yorker article on the Frenchman:“Céline is my Proust!” Philip Roth once said. “Even if his anti-Semitism made him an abject, intolerable person. To read him, I have to suspend my Jewish conscience, but I do it, because anti-Semitism isn’t at the heart of his books… . Céline is a great liberator.”I'll go along with that.
This was the second full-length bio to come out in English (the first was I think Erika Ostrovsky's). It's competent but for such a fiery writer, seems curiously flat. Partly I think this is because McCarthy insists on a "literary" treatment - not what makes Celine fascinating but how he achieves his effects. Well, that's ok, but it's not the real deal say I. Celine peels our illusions away and won't let us have them back. Ostrovsky's not so good bio had a quote from the notebooks of the young Destouches who said he wanted to drag people through the mud so they would be freer, and that focus is the one to start with in any discussion really.
No one's ever really going to make sense of the massive jumble of contradictions that was Louis-Ferdinand Celine, which is just how the mean bastard would have wanted it. But McCarthy probably does as good a job as anyone ever will.