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Journey to the End of the Nightby Louis-Ferdinand Celine
Upon publication in 1932, Journey to the End of the Night at once scandalized and invigorated French Literature, and has continued to influence authors of many nationalities to this day. It's the story of Bardamu, a man who continually finds himself at the mercy of some of the more brutal aspects of human nature. A truly compelling read, Journey is a thoroughly singular book that manages to be both satirical and touching.
Synopses & Reviews
Louis-Ferdinand Céline's revulsion and anger at what he considered the idiocy and hypocrisy of society explodes from nearly every page of this novel. Filled with slang and obscenities and written in raw, colloquial language, Journey to the End of the Night is a literary symphony of violence, cruelty and obscene nihilism. This book shocked most critics when it was first published in France in 1932, but quickly became a success with the reading public in Europe, and later in America where it was first published by New Directions in 1952. The story of the improbable yet convincingly described travels of the petit-bourgeois (and largely autobiographical) antihero, Bardamu, from the trenches of World War I, to the African jungle, to New York and Detroit, and finally to life as a failed doctor in Paris, takes the readers by the scruff and hurtles them toward the novel's inevitable, sad conclusion.
"The terrifying French novelist, Louis Ferdinand Céline — an enormously powerful and slashing, satiric, misanthropic writer. But what power of the imagination!" James Laughlin, founder of New Directions
"This is the novel, perhaps more than any other, that inspired me to write fiction." New York Times Book Review, Will Self
The dark side of On the Road: instead of seeking kicks, the French narrator travels the globe to find an ever deeper disgust for life.
About the Author
Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894-1961) was a French writer and doctor whose novels are antiheroic visions of human suffering. Accused of collaboration with the Nazis, Céline fled France in 1944 first to Germany and then to Denmark. Condemned by default (1950) in France to one year of imprisonment and declared a national disgrace, Céline returned to France after his pardon in 1951, where he continued to write until his death. His classic books include Journey to the End of the Night, Death on the Installment Plan, London Bridge, North, Rigadoon, Conversations with Professor Y, Castle to Castle, and Normance.
Ralph Manheim (1907-1992) was an American translator of German and French literature, as well as occasional works from Dutch, Polish and Hungarian. The PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation, a major lifetime achievement award in the field of translation. is named in honor of Manheim and his work.
William T. Vollmann is the author of The Atlas (winner of the 1997 PEN Center West Award), Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes, and Europe Central. His nonfiction includes Rising Up and Rising Down which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2003.
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