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Celine: A Biography

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Drawing on a wealth of unpublished letters and documents and first-ever interviews with Celine's widow, Frederic Vitoux brilliantly weaves together all the available information on Celine into an extraordinary portrait of Celine's temptuous life and times. Photographs. Drawing on a wealth of unpublished letters and documents and first-ever interviews with Celine's widow, Frederic Vitoux brilliantly weaves together all the available information on Celine into an extraordinary portrait of Celine's temptuous life and times. Photographs.


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Drawing on a wealth of unpublished letters and documents and first-ever interviews with Celine's widow, Frederic Vitoux brilliantly weaves together all the available information on Celine into an extraordinary portrait of Celine's temptuous life and times. Photographs. Drawing on a wealth of unpublished letters and documents and first-ever interviews with Celine's widow, Frederic Vitoux brilliantly weaves together all the available information on Celine into an extraordinary portrait of Celine's temptuous life and times. Photographs.

30 review for Celine: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Steve Evans

    This book won a prize in France after it was first published, and it's not at all bad. The author previously wrote a short literary analysis of the role of Bebert, Celine's cat, in the final trilogy that was worth reading. Vitoux's account came at a good time for its subject; previous biographies had to deal more with Celine's anti-Semitism and time seems to have eased this for some reason. I don't really agree with this: the only way to deal with it is head-on. There are other biographies and i This book won a prize in France after it was first published, and it's not at all bad. The author previously wrote a short literary analysis of the role of Bebert, Celine's cat, in the final trilogy that was worth reading. Vitoux's account came at a good time for its subject; previous biographies had to deal more with Celine's anti-Semitism and time seems to have eased this for some reason. I don't really agree with this: the only way to deal with it is head-on. There are other biographies and if I can find them on the database I'll review them; in some ways certainly I prefer Patrick McCarthy's. The virtues of this one are that he does manage to cover many aspects of Celine's life that may have been unavailable to earlier biographers. The literary analysis is more sketchy than I would have liked or expected after the study of Bebert, but is still ok; it's not so "literary" as McCarthy's for example, and to me that's a good thing, not a bad one. It still seems to me that Celine awaits "the definitive life". None so far is it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lolo

    La biographie de Céline, épaisse, réalisée par un académicien. Un trésor d'informations, de détails, de correspondances (nombreuses), de témoignages de proches (dont ses femmes) qui permettent de faire connaissance avec l'auteur, de lui donner une autre dimension (que celle véhiculée par lui-même dans son œuvre), le tout dans le contexte. Céline qui apparait définitivement comme un homme singulier, à la vie atypique, romanesque, un personnage étonnant, effrayant parfois, sans conteste un auteur La biographie de Céline, épaisse, réalisée par un académicien. Un trésor d'informations, de détails, de correspondances (nombreuses), de témoignages de proches (dont ses femmes) qui permettent de faire connaissance avec l'auteur, de lui donner une autre dimension (que celle véhiculée par lui-même dans son œuvre), le tout dans le contexte. Céline qui apparait définitivement comme un homme singulier, à la vie atypique, romanesque, un personnage étonnant, effrayant parfois, sans conteste un auteur fascinant, un travailleur acharné, tout simplement un génie comme il y en a peu. Pour lire cette biographie, il faut - je suppose - au préalable avoir lu des ouvrages de l'auteur et avoir aimé ; ces conditions remplies, c'est du bonheur, de nombreux extraits de lettres ou de ses écrits, des citations, du "bonus" de Céline, une lecture incontournable.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mo

    Oh why do I love him so? He was really quite the salty bastard, but I love him. "With ideas, effort, and enthusiasm, I have fed more insatiable cretins, more pathetic paranoiacs, more complex anthropoids than are needed to drive any average monkey to suicide." With that being said, this biography of Celine was a little difficult to wade through---Vitoux is all over the place and his own prose style is a little on the side of, uh, the baroque. But deifnitely still worth a read for fans of Celine. Oh why do I love him so? He was really quite the salty bastard, but I love him. "With ideas, effort, and enthusiasm, I have fed more insatiable cretins, more pathetic paranoiacs, more complex anthropoids than are needed to drive any average monkey to suicide." With that being said, this biography of Celine was a little difficult to wade through---Vitoux is all over the place and his own prose style is a little on the side of, uh, the baroque. But deifnitely still worth a read for fans of Celine.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    While an extremely interesting read, mainly due to Celine's toxic personality, this is not the most well written biography. Could have been the translation. The word "chimera" was used with annoying frequency, but reading that Celine once referred to Sartre as "Fartre" more than made up for it. While an extremely interesting read, mainly due to Celine's toxic personality, this is not the most well written biography. Could have been the translation. The word "chimera" was used with annoying frequency, but reading that Celine once referred to Sartre as "Fartre" more than made up for it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Neal McGrath

    Absolutely brilliant,in depth biography of the controversial French author.Beautifully written-if you are writing a book about a great author then I guess you should know what you’re talking about- well researched,it’s a thrilling ride into Céline’s heart of darkness;from the battlefields of WW1 and life changing injuries,to the antisemitic controversies and hiding out with the Nazi’s in a castle during the final days of WW2. As the book unfolds you see Céline’s health deteriorate;partly the resu Absolutely brilliant,in depth biography of the controversial French author.Beautifully written-if you are writing a book about a great author then I guess you should know what you’re talking about- well researched,it’s a thrilling ride into Céline’s heart of darkness;from the battlefields of WW1 and life changing injuries,to the antisemitic controversies and hiding out with the Nazi’s in a castle during the final days of WW2. As the book unfolds you see Céline’s health deteriorate;partly the result of his First World War experience,partly the burden of his own follies;it’s a price he had to pay:Celine gave no quarter,not in life nor on the page.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Eric_W

    "Celine" was the pen name of Louis-Ferdinand Destouches, a viciously anti-Semitic, but brilliant (not my judgment,) French writer. During WW I he was seriously wounded (although there is some dispute about the nature and severity of the injury). His fans have attributed his callousness and hatred to the insufferable headaches and mental noises that plagued him until his death in 1961. "I've learned to get along with my ear noises....I listen to them become trombones, full orchestras, marshaling "Celine" was the pen name of Louis-Ferdinand Destouches, a viciously anti-Semitic, but brilliant (not my judgment,) French writer. During WW I he was seriously wounded (although there is some dispute about the nature and severity of the injury). His fans have attributed his callousness and hatred to the insufferable headaches and mental noises that plagued him until his death in 1961. "I've learned to get along with my ear noises....I listen to them become trombones, full orchestras, marshaling yards....If you move your mattress...show some little sign of impatience...you go crazy." So he wrote in his autobiographical novel North, finished in 1960. Most of his writing, after his most famous novel Journey to the End of Night, is viciously cruel and racist. So suggest reviewers of Frederic Vitoux's recent biography of Celine entitled appropriately Celine. You wonder, "Where is this going?" Well, George Steiner, in his review of Vitoux's book in the New Yorker, August 24, 1992, ponders the value of such vituperative literature. "The liberal case against all censorship is cant. If serious literature and the arts can educate sensibly, exalt our perceptions, refine our moral discriminations, they can, by exactly the same token, deprave, cheapen, and make bestial our imaginings and mimetic impulses." Steiner makes the same mistake that Medved does. Surely no one would ever suggest that anyone reading a "good" book would immediately run out and commit all sorts of "good" works. The inverse must also be valid. It seems to me we need the literature of the racists and fascists out in the open where it can be read and its flaws exposed. The contrast to literature exalting the best in humanity becomes all the more stark and valid.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Monsieur K

  8. 5 out of 5

    John

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rene Van Kapel

  10. 4 out of 5

    Hanka Šmídová

  11. 4 out of 5

    Agfers

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

  13. 5 out of 5

    Freddy

  14. 5 out of 5

    Redg

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gene Quagmire

  16. 5 out of 5

    Wolf

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jason Verge

  18. 4 out of 5

    Anatole David

  19. 5 out of 5

    John

  20. 4 out of 5

    Malibumikemurphy murphy

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mike

  22. 5 out of 5

    Philip Challinor

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hal Perry

  24. 5 out of 5

    Marc Snyder

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sagez

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kat

  27. 5 out of 5

    Wes

  28. 4 out of 5

    Anne Oostra

  29. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Derdeyn

  30. 5 out of 5

    Andor Mostert

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