Read London Bridge by Louis-Ferdinand Céline Free Online
Book Title: London Bridge|
The author of the book: Louis-Ferdinand Céline
ISBN 13: 9781564781758
Edition: Dalkey Archive Press
Date of issue: July 1st 1999
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 9.99 MB
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Reader ratings: 3.4
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One of the last major untranslated works by France's most controversial author, London Bridge is a riotous novel about the London underworld during World War I. Picking up where Guignol's Band (1944; English translation 1954) left off, Céline's autobiographical narrator recounts his disastrous partnership with a mystical Frenchman (intent on financing a trip to Tibet by winning a gas-mask competition); his uneasy relationship with London's pimps and whores and their common nemesis, Inspector Matthew of Scotland Yard; and, most scandalously, his affair with a baronet's 14-year-old daughter, an English angel whose descent into vice is suspiciously smooth. He dreams of escaping with her to America to start a new life, but he, his mystical partner, and his under-aged mistress finally awake to reality crossing windswept London Bridge.
Written in his trademark style—a headlong rush of slang, brusque observation, and quirky lyricism, delivered in machine-gun bursts of prose and ellipses—Céline re-creates the dark days during the Great War with sordid verisimilitude and desperate hilarity, expertly captured in Dominic Di Bernardi's racy translation.
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Read information about the authorLouis-Ferdinand Céline, pen name of Dr. Louis-Ferdinand Destouches, is best known for his works Voyage au bout de la nuit (Journey to the End of the Night), and Mort à crédit (Death on the Installment Plan). His highly innovative writing style using Parisian vernacular, vulgarities, and intentionally peppering ellipses throughout the text was used to evoke the cadence of speech.
Louis-Ferdinand Destouches was raised in Paris, in a flat over the shopping arcade where his mother had a lace store. His parents were poor (father a clerk, mother a seamstress). After an education that included stints in Germany and England, he performed a variety of dead-end jobs before he enlisted in the French cavalry in 1912 two years before the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. While serving on the Western Front he was wounded in the head and suffered serious injuries – a crippled arm and headaches that plagued him all his life – but also winning a medal of honour. Released from military service, he studied medicine and emigrated to the USA where he worked as a staff doctor at the newly build Ford plant in Detroit before returning to France and establishing a medical practice among the Parisian poor. Their experiences are featured prominently in his fiction.
Although he is often cited as one of the most influential and greatest writers of the twentieth century, he is certainly a controversial figure. After embracing fascism, he published three antisemitic pamphlets, and vacillated between support and denunciation of Hitler. He fled to Germany and Denmark in 1945 where he was imprisoned for a year and declared a national disgrace. He then received amnesty and returned to Paris in 1951.
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Henry Miller, William Burroughs, and Charles Bukowski have all cited him as an important influence.
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