Death On Credit. Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Ralph Manheim.

Death On Credit

London: John Calder, 1989. 1st UK Edition. Thick octavo, publisher's black cloth, spine gilt, original illustrated dust jacket.

First UK edition of the Manheim translation of French novelist Céline's autobiographical black comedy, Mort à crédit (originally published in France in 1936). Céline was the pen name of Louis-Ferdinand Destouches, a doctor and World War I veteran from a petit bourgeois family, whose caustic accounts of working class life written in a fragmented vernacular, along with his anti-semitic pamphleteering and collaborationist politics, earned him a controversial yet secure place in French literature. "I suppose it's our fate, but you get sick of growing old, of seeing everything around you change...There are plenty of things I could complain about, but I'm stuck with them. I'm a mess, but I adore myself as much as the Seine stinks." Mort à crédit was the follow-up to Voyage au bout de la nuit (1932). Both were published in English translations in the 30s, but as Céline's style became better understood and appreciated, the translations came to be seen as timid and unfaithful to the spirit of the originals. Manheim's translations appeared in the US in the 60s, but didn't appear in the UK until the 80s; they have since become standard. With an introduction by Manheim and a glossary. Textblock somewhat age-toned, with corners of boards slightly banged. Unclipped dust jacket with some rubbing to spine-ends and flap folds. Very good. Item #241


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