Saturday, November 14, 2009

Céline on the human race (plus more quotes)

Louis Ferdinand Céline

Louis Ferdinand Céline , 1894-1961, French author, whose real name was Louis Ferdinand Destouches. Céline wrote grim, scatological, and blackly funny novels. His first and best-known work, Journey to the End of Night (1932, tr. 1934) is based on his service at the front in World War I, his travels through Africa, and his service as a League of Nations doctor. Looking back on his Paris childhood, Death on the Installment Plan (1936, tr. 1938) introduced Céline's stylistic innovation—the regular use of ellipses and apostrophes to capture the rhythm of everyday speech.

Céline on the human race:

"There is nothing inside them… they are like bulls, wave something to distract them; tits, patriotism, the church, anything in fact, and they will jump. It doesn't take much, it is very easy… they want always to be distracted."


(here are a few more quotes from Céline I have run across recently)

“Never believe straight off in a man's unhappiness. Ask him if he can still sleep. If the answer's 'yes', all's well. That is enough.”

“To hell with reality! I want to die in music, not in reason or in prose. People don't deserve the restraint we show by not going into delirium in front of them. To hell with them!”

“We've no use for intellectuals in this outfit. What we need is chimpanzees. Let me give you a word of advice: never say a word to us about being intelligent. We will think for you, my friend. Don't forget it.”

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