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Journey to the End of the Night

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Journey to the End of the Night Cover

 

Staff Pick

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.
Recommended by Gin, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"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

Review:

"This is the novel, perhaps more than any other, that inspired me to write fiction." New York Times Book Review, Will Self

Synopsis:

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

lukas, December 10, 2014 (view all comments by lukas)
"So the earth makes its way through the vastly menacing, silent night.”
If you know anything about French writer Louis-Ferdinand Celine, usually just known as Celine, it's probably that he was a fascist sympathizer and an anti-Semite. In his defense, he seems to hate just about everyone and everything. As William T. Vollmann, no stranger to controversy, writers in the afterword, Celine "pisses on everything." Bodily fluid is an apt image as Celine, unlike his existentialist peers (I read Sartre just before him), finds no freedom in a meaningless universe and for him man is a farting, crapping, screwing, belching, rotting from the inside creature. This, his most famous novel, is basically a long, rambling, autobiographical, episodic, splenetic rant that takes you deep in the mind and consciousness of a brutal and bitter narrator, who makes Dostoevsky's Underground Man look well-adjusted. Whether it needed to be over 400 pages is debatable, but it didn't seem like Celine could stop until in he had exhausted himself pissing out "astonishing soliloquies" (Vollmann again). There are occasional flashes of lucid beauty and insight, but they are mostly drowned in the bile. Ironically, Celine trained to be a doctor.
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vincentabbin, November 7, 2011 (view all comments by vincentabbin)
It's not easy to be a fan of Louis Celine. The general consensus is that he was a horrible person who wrote astounding works at best, and a rabid dog drooling on a sheet of paper at worst. Either view is valid. No matter how hard I try, though, I cannot resist Journey. It is a work of frighteningly intense honesty and despair. Unlike many bleak writers, though, Celine has the gift of mockery. He sees the banal cruelties of human existence, and has a hearty laugh about it. Sure, if I'm in a certain group, I'll tout any of Dostoevsky's work as my all-time favorites (which is ironic, because Dostoevsky himself was quite the anti-Semite), but in my heart of hearts, Journey to the End of the Night stands as my favorite work in the Western Canon...or at least my favorite of what I've read so far.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780811216548
Author:
Celine, Louis-Ferdinand
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Translator:
Manheim, Ralph
Author:
Manheim, Ralph
Author:
Cline, Louis-Ferdinand
Author:
Vollmann, William T.
Afterword by:
Vollmann, William T.
Afterword:
Vollman, William T.
Afterword:
Vollmann, William T.
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Series:
NEW DIRECTIONS PAPERBOOK
Publication Date:
20060531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
464
Dimensions:
8 x 5.2 x 1.3 in 0.91 lb

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Journey to the End of the Night New Trade Paper
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Product details 464 pages New Directions Publishing Corporation - English 9780811216548 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

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.

"Review" by , "The terrifying French novelist, Louis Ferdinand Céline — an enormously powerful and slashing, satiric, misanthropic writer. But what power of the imagination!"
"Review" by , "This is the novel, perhaps more than any other, that inspired me to write fiction."
"Synopsis" by , 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.
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