Northby Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Louis C?line, Ralph Manheim (Translator)
In this novel, Louis-Ferdinand Celine (Journey to the End of the Night, Death on the Installment Plan) offers us a vivid chronicle of a desperate man's frantic flight from France in the final months of World War II.
Meet the Author
Louis-Ferdinand Celine (1894-1961) was a French writer and doctor whose novels are antiheroic visions of human suffering. Accused of collaboration with the Nazis, Celine 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, Celine 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 (b. New York, 1907) was an American translator of German and French literature. His translating career began with a translation of Mein Kempf in which Manheim set out to reproduce Hitler's idiosyncratic, often grammatically aberrant style. In collaboration with John Willett, Manheim translated the works of Bertolt Brecht. The Pen/Ralph Manheim Medal for translation, inaugurated in his name, is a major lifetime achievement award in the field of translation. He himself won its predecessor, the PEN translation prize, in 1964. Manheim died in Cambridge in 1992. He was 85.
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Celine's latter trilogy, North, Castle to Castle, and Rigadoon, rarely shares the prestige and canonical airplay of his more 'sober' work of Voyage a bout de la nuit. North's mass agglomerations of ellipses that shore up puctive, raving prose furnishes us with the inner workings of a man ravaged by the vicissitudes of the collabo witchhunt during the fallout of WWII. North, like the other two titles in his trilogy, is an engaging read with a constant flow of breathless emphasis. It surely stands out as one of the more courageously maniacal texts of the 20th century, and is deserving of much more study beyond the small klatch of Celine enthusiasts. It is in North where we come to witness Celine's mastery of coordinating action sequences with several bodies, in a kind of complex literary ballet that rhizomally unfolds and ferries across the rhapsody of the situation of which he gives reportage.