Celine: A Biography

Frederic Vitoux, Author, Jesse Browner, Translator Paragon House Publishers $34.95 (601p) ISBN 978-1-55778-255-7
Louis Ferdinand Celine (1894-1961) insisted that he wrote only to earn money and professed incomprehension of how his words might injure others, yet his frenetic novel Journey to the End of Night , a gloss on the vileness of humanity, influenced a generation, while his anti-Semitic and racist tracts fueled Nazi hatred. In a psychologizing, often florid biography, French scholar Vitoux argues that young Louis's change of wet nurses and constant movement in childhood sowed the seeds of instability. The book provides a stunning portrait of Celine's progressive withdrawal from reality, accompanied by persecution manias, constant headaches and auditory hallucinations. Vitoux limns a prophet of decadence who hated war and colonialism and rattled the complacency of the well-to-do by proposing that cruel egoism dwells in the heart of every individual. Photos. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/30/1992
Release date: 04/01/1992
Hardcover - 601 pages - 978-1-56924-969-7
Paperback - 601 pages - 978-1-56924-888-1
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