Wednesday, October 06, 2004

this following is a comment Jeff Harrison sent to me regarding Céline.

Neat to see you're reading Celine, Mort a Credit is very enjoyable. There is, I agree, a bit of distance in Celine; his humor bridges it a bit, but some see humor as distancing... humor shows the effort to bridge, to communicate / explain / relate / defend, I suppose, which may be his intention. I've read that the French version has a LOT more ellipsis points in it, and that the translators omitted a lot of them in an effort not to annoy the English-language reader, which is a shame. The ellipsis points method again provides a distancing / bridging paradox, as it presents itself as scattered thoughts or jotting but, to me, seems very written also... constant planned and off-hand decisions when to break the sentence with ellipsis points, kind of like enjambment... also the sentence itself, often a phrase or word, like a poem's line, seems often to be informed by this method.

until I put my nose into the book, what I knew about Céline was that he was anti-semitic, intense and and and. as with Burroughs, there's a certan readiness to plunge into grossness. I don't have the book handy, but in The Soft Machine, there's a passage of repellent grossness and violence, wild, vicious imaginings. but what Burroughs does is use cut ups to fragment the passage's narrative sense. this technique sends the acts thru a prism (emprisms) that brings language itself, and its grossness and violence, into view. something like that? seems like Céline does a similar basic reconsideration. in both, the work disturbs. it is a confrontational disturbance that asks the reader to consider his/her own sensibilities.
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