"""Louis-Ferdinand Destouches met Cillie Pam in Paris, at the Café de la Paix, in September 1932. Destouches was a physician who worked at a public clinic in Clichy treating poor and working-class patients; Pam was a twenty-seven-year-old Viennese gymnastics instructor eleven years his junior on a visit to the city. Destouches suggested a stroll in the Bois de Boulogne, took Pam to dinner later that night, and afterward took her home. Two weeks together began, after which Pam returned to her work and life in Vienna. Over the next seven years, they saw each other infrequently but corresponded regularly. Pam, who was Jewish, married and had a son. Destouches, who wrote in his free time, became famous shortly after their brief affair, his first novel, Voyage au bout de la nuit, published at the end of 1932 under the pseudonym "Céline" (his maternal grandmother's first name), proving an enormous success. In February 1939, Destouches received word that Pam had lost her husband: he had been seized, sent to Dachau, and killed. On February 21, Destouches wrote to Pam, who had fled abroad:
What awful news! At least you're far away, on the other side of the world. Were you able to take a little money with you? Obviously, you're going to start a new life over there. How will you work? Where will Europe be by the time you receive this letter? We're living over a volcano.
On my side, my little dramas are nothing compared to yours (for the moment), but tragedy looms nonetheless....
Because of my anti-Semitic stance I've lost all my jobs (Clichy, etc.) and I'm going to court on March 8. You see, Jews can persecute too.""""
Guar-annn-teed to have an Andy Sullivan-Demopublican quiverin' like a bowl of warm jello (at least those who can read the NYT). Actually, Contingencies, while granting Celine's greatness as black humorist and skill at charting the madness of the 20th century (as with Mort a Credit), agrees with Mr. Mason's assessment (or implied assessment) of Celine's pamphlets as pathological, deviant, even criminal in a sense. Celine did par-tay with some of the boys of the Waffen SS, during WWII and afterwards (the French govt. were after him immediately, and he barely escaped execution). Perhaps some jewish people would have grounds for calling him a war criminal though he was not technically a nazi or german citizen, and did not participate in the putsches, or in any military actions of the nazis/Wehrmacht, or with the nightmares of the camps.
Prior to WWII Dr. Destouches (aka Celine) did apparently denounce Hitler (actually, he seemed to imply Der Fuhrer was himself...perhaps misschling.) Yet Mr. Mason tends to read Celine with the usual....bourgeois-moralist spectacles on. Mason merely reacts; he does not even make an attempt to understand Celine, either as man or ...monster. Nietzsche predicted--accurately, really--that the 20th century would be the time of the assassins. Celine is a creature of the the time of the assassins.
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