Death on the installment plan. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1938
8vo. [viii], 593 pp. Original dark blue cloth, slightly worn at head and foot of spine, otherwise an excellent copy. $350.00
First American edition. A French writer and doctor, Louis-Ferdinand Destouches (1894-1961) adopted the pseudonym Céline when he wrote his first novel, Voyage au bout de la nuit. He here looks back on his Paris childhood, depicting the tale of a young boy struggling with his parents and life. These first two novels are a nihilistic vision of human suffering, failure and pessimism.
Céline wrote three virulently anti-Semitic pamphlets between 1937 and 1941, and after WWII was accused of Nazi collaboration. He fled France to live in Germany, joining members of the Vichy Government and other French collaborators. While there, he treated refugees of the regime. Convicted in absentia in a civil court in France to one year of imprisonment and declared a national disgrace, Céline did not return to France until after his pardon in 1951. Céline's later works were badly received, as his reputation as a writer had been shadowed his anti-Semitism and anti-Communism. He is now generally regarded as one of the most important and influential, as well as controversial, twentieth century French novelists.
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