Massive words: Louis-Ferdinand Celine, journey to the end of the night

Here’s how it started: I’d never read a word of Céline’s. Not one word. It was Henry Rollins that made me speak up. Rollins name-checked him in one of his obsessive journaling exercises. So we meet on the Printed Page. It was after midnight.

Céline gets shit, and sometimes applause, for being anti-human, anti-establishment.

Céline is anti-bullshit. Celine is the guy at the Thanksgiving dinner table, airing everyone’s secrets that everyone at the table knew already. Everyone embarrassed, acting like they don’t. Like this:

The biggest defeat in every department of life is to forget, especially the things that have done you in, and to die without realizing how far people can go in the way of crumminess. When the grave lies open before us, let’s not try to be witty, but on the other hand, let’s not forget, let’s make it our business to record the worst of the human viciousness we’ve seen without changing one word. When that’s done, we can curl up our toes and sink into the pit. That’s work enough for a lifetime.


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