Journey to the End of the Night

Journey to the End of the Night

4.2 11
by Louis-Ferdinand Céline

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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.

Louis-Ferdinand Celine'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


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.

Louis-Ferdinand Celine'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.

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New Directions Publishing Corporation
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Meet 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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Journey to the End of the Night 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
celine has long been my favorite author. i believe a lot of people misunderstand celine's intentions, and take him for some kind of mediocre nihilist...i have personally always found celine's writing to be intensley uplifting. much of it is in fact very funny i know have have laughed out loud many times! celine knew what he was doing... to me his writing does convey emotion perfectly and i can sense a cathartic joy in hs work. i recommend Death on the Installment Plan as a better introduction, but my absolute favorite is London Bridge. that one is his best work. enjoy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book because the Beats frequently said the Celine was the best author they had ever read. So fifty years after the Beats, and fifty years after even 'Catcher in the Rye,' Journey to the End of Night might seem a bit tame. But Celine showed that the misthantope is a valid, interesting, amusing, and even likable protagonist, before so many others. Even the four slightly antisocial characters of 'Sienfeld' owe a literary nod to Celine.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A remarkable book, impossible to put down at times, and as much a subtle political statement as a novel: on the one hand an examination of bourgeois mores in a state of decay, on the other a close-up view of a corrupted, sordid, and ignorant proletariat. Celine's opinion of his fellow man is shown here to be dark, cynical, but realistic, which probably helps to explain why in the 1930's he looked to fascism for answers, and not to the unworkable utopian idiocies of communism. It should be said that Celine's fascist views shouldn't be a reason to reject his literature - indeed, they only make it more interesting. How arrogant we've become when we think only believers in democracy (or Communists!) can write interesting literature.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Much better than 'Death on the Installment Plan.' Gritty and fascinating, though too long.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I heard about Celine through Bukowski's mad prose first. I got the book and finished it in a matter of days. 'Journey To The End Of The Night' takes everything this world gives to an individual and tosses it into the ocean. Celine was one of the best writers of the 20th century, I have never seen anything come close to compare to the way he talks. I found myself asking questions on the most fundemental values I had recieved from birth. I thought I had it all figured out, I thought I was a rebel. Celine showed me just how diluted everyone is, including myself. I almost fainted when the author began to describe himself being 'Shoved into the night' so often and wanting to travel to the end of it, hence the title. I will never forget this book as long as I live, I can't. If you are literate and read this book, you will know what I am talking about when I say that an individual could never forget a book like this...ever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Celine was a closed-minded, idiotic Fascist whose prose isn't as angry as people make it seem. It's really not that dark or cynical--Henry Miller has written angrier stuff, along with Bukowski, not to forget the founder of Dadaism, Tristan Tzara. Don't believe the hype. People blow this guy's work out of proportion. A lot of what's supposed to be 'dark humour' in this novel is not humurous at all, but just tedious, monotonous rantings of a dissillusioned soul. Even Celine said that most of what his readers take as 'humurous' are not meant to be! One of his pet-peeves were people taking the serious scenes in his books and laughing at them. Of course, this isn't his readers' fault--it's just his poor writing. Most of what he wrote came out unintentionally funny. Especially the part about Napoleon, which eventually leads to a long winding, overly detailed explanation of the male race. Towards the end, he gets way too preachy. His anger is obviously superficial. Nabokov, a much more talented writer, was right. Celine was a second rater. I don't know how I got through this whole book. Don't read this novel. It's trash. It's overrated. It's poor. It's especially egocentric. He hates everybody but himself...and his constant use of those three dots...are a pathetic attempt at capturing human emotion...learn literature, Celine...Faust captured emotion without the constant use of three periods...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Those interested in reading this admittedly 'groundbreaking'(if you consider ripping off Notes from the Underground in French breaking new ground) tripe might be better served by the works of the true absurdists (Sartre, Camus, Beckett), who lived as they wrote instead of espousing heinous ideologies and showing themselves to be beneath notice, much less derision.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Best novel of the past 2000 years, not because of its sensationalism or style, but rather because of its ideas. Most radical is how he questions why and how people can believe themselves to happy, or patriotic, or coragueous or righteous in a life that cancels all of them out at one point or another. This is misanthropy as a bludgeon, not as an affecation or a joke or (god forbid) an ironic statement. Bracing, even today.