Louis-Ferdinand Céline

(1894-1961 / Courbevoie)

Louis-Ferdinand Céline Quotes

  • ''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!''
    Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894-1961), French author. Letter, June 30, 1947. Critical Essays on Louis-Ferdinand Céline, ed. William K. Buckley (1989).
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  • ''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.''
    Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894-1961), French author. Examining doctor at Ford auto factory in Detroit, where the narrator Ferdinand Bardamu (and Céline) worked, in Journey to the End of the Night, 1966 edition, p. 196 (1932, trans. 1934).
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  • ''Love, Arthur, is a poodle's chance of attaining the infinite, and personally I have my pride.''
    Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894-1961), French author. Ferdinand Bardamu, in Journey to the End of the Night, 1966 edition, p. 8 (orig. publ. 1932, trans. 1934).
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  • ''Life is filigree work.... What is written clearly is not worth much, it's the transparency that counts.''
    Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894-1961), French author. Quoted in Patrick McCarthy, Céline, ch. 8 (1975). Féerie pour une Autre Fois (1952).
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  • ''Even diseases have lost their prestige, there aren't so many of them left.... Think it over ... no more syphilis, no more clap, no more typhoid ... antibiotics have taken half the tragedy out of medicine.''
    Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894-1961), French author. Interview, 1960, in Critical Essays on Louis-Ferdinand Céline, ed. by William F. Buckley (1989).
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  • ''Experience is a dim lamp, which only lights the one who bears it.''
    Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894-1961), French author. Interview in Writers at Work, Third Series, ed. George Plimpton (1967).
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  • ''The novel can't compete with cars, the movies, television, and liquor. A guy who's had a good feed and tanked up on good wine gives his old lady a kiss after supper and his day is over. Finished.''
    Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894-1961), French author. interview, June 1, 1960, repr. In Critical Essays on Louis-Ferdinand Céline, ed. William F. Buckley (1989).
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  • ''The foreground in a picture is always unattractive ... Art demands that the interest of the canvas should be placed in the far distance, where lies take refuge, those dreams which blossom out of fact and are man's only love.''
    Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894-1961), French author. the narrator (Ferdinand Bardamu), in Journey to the End of the Night, p. 70 (1932, trans. 1934, repr. 1966). Voicing the opinions of landscape painter Claude Lorraine.
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  • ''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.''
    Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894-1961), French author. The narrator (Ferdinand Bardamu), in Journey to the End of the Night, p. 371 (1932, trans. 1934, 1966).
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  • ''There's a point of poverty at which the spirit isn't with the body all the time. It finds the body really too unbearable. So it's almost as if you were talking to the soul itself. And a soul's not properly responsible.''
    Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894-1961), French author. The narrator (Ferdinand Bardamu), in Journey to the End of the Night, p. 196 (1932, trans. 1934, 1966).
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