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Trifles for a Massacre, Louis Ferdinand Celine

Trifles for a Massacre, Louis Ferdinand Celine

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Celine's notorious 1937 novel. Banned in France for its anti-Semitism.
Celine's notorious 1937 novel. Banned in France for its anti-Semitism.

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Published by: Matthew Edward Cooper on Jan 27, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Louis-Ferdinand CÉLINE
by Translator anonymous
Trifles for a massacre
Original :
Bagatelles pour un massacre 
, 1937
Translation of the above: Copyright © 2006 (pending). May be copied and citedfreely. The footnotes are by the translator.
EDITIONS DENOËL19, RUE AMÉLIE 19PARISThe “massacre,” in the thinking of the author, which he foresaw in 1937, is evidentlythat which transpired upon the outbreak of the Second World War.Contrary to rumor, the pamphlets
are not forbidden by law, regulation or tribunal. Theyhave not been reissued by reputable publishing houses because the author, having returned toFrance, wanted to retain the authority on the reissue of the books which he had written, inorder to gain his subsistence.
This measure of opportunity is no longer a consideration,following the passing away of the author in 1961. No one has the right to impede thelegitimate curiosity of subsequent generations concerning he who was the incandescent nexusof French literature of the Mid-Twentieth Century.After his demise in 1961, his widow, Lucette Almanzor, a dancer, banned any reprintingof the boo and sued in courts those who tried. She still does. We believe the motivation of thewidow to be private and do not accept to have such a masterpiece removed from theknowledge of our time. Readers, and citizen at large, have the choice to read and to know.Nobody can take this right away from them, from us. (aaargh)TO EUGÈNE DABITTO MY CHUMS AT THE “THÉATRE EN TOILE"
Refers to the various “anti-Semitic” works of Céline, of the later 1930s, which in addition to
 A School for Cadavers
 A Fine Mess
This is a tendentious explanation of events. It would be more accurate to say that the author “sat on” the reissueof this and similar works, in order not to exacerbate the conditions of ostracism to which he and his works weresubject, following the Second World War. Also, his original publisher, Denoël, had been assassinated during theWar.
Trifles for a massacre
 He is wicked, he will not go to Paradise,he who dies without having settled all of his accounts – Almanach des Bons-Enfants
The world is full of people who call themselves refined but are not, I declare, the leastlittle bit refined. I, your servant, fully believe that I myself am refined. So it is! Genuinelyrefined. I was reluctant to admit it until recently…I resisted… And then one day I gave in…Too bad!… I am all the same a little embarrassed by my refinement… What is one going tosay? Pretend? Insinuate?A valid man of refinement, refined in terms of rectitude, of dress, of social station,ordinarily must write at least as do M. Gide, M. Vanderem, M. Benda, M. Duhamel, Mme.Colette, Mme. Fémina, Mme. Valéry, the “French Theater”…to delight innuance…Mallarmé, Bergson, Alain…to ass-ream the adjective…to Goncourtize
…shit! toass-ream a gnat, to wax hysterical over Insignificance, to babble-on while dressed in royalpurple, to pose for the gallery, to crow into the microphones… To reveal my “favoriterecords”…my conference projects…I would be able, I myself would easily be able to become a veritable stylist, a “relevant”academic. It’s a matter of effort, over the course of months…maybe years… It would beaccomplished…as the Spanish proverb goes: “A great deal of Vaseline, and even morepatience, the elephant ass-ream the ant.”Yet all the same I am too well-traveled, too advanced, too jaded along the ill-advisedroute of natural refinement…to turn back now, after a hard career as “a hard man amongsthard men”! and then proceed to apply for the examination in doily-making! It is not possible!And therein lies tragedy. How I was bound-up with emotion…through my own refinement?Here are the facts, the circumstances…I recently poured my heart out to a little buddy of mine, a worthy young doctor in myown specialty, to wit, one Léo Gutman, whose tastes are extremely vivacious, pronounced,virulent, I would even say absolutely despotic, when he talks to me about dancers… I askedhim his opinion… What was going to become of me? me, with a family to support! I confidedeverything about my all-consuming passion to him…
Refers derogatorily to the Prix Goncourt.

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