Thursday, February 18, 7.30pm
Florence Gould Event.
If the three remarkably virulent anti-Semitic works written by Céline between 1937 and 1941, that outdo in violence anything the Germans ever wrote, were not the work of a brilliant, world-famous author, one of the major novelists of the first half of the 20th century, they would have been long forgotten as the railings of pure, rabid hatred, not worthy of serious debate. Céline refused to have them republished after the war and no publisher would have agreed to do so; following his death, his widow extended this ban. Consequently, the three anti-Semitic ravings are not readily available (except surreptitiously on the web), but, as the product of the author of Journey to the End of Night, they have been the object of endless polemics. For some, Céline's hysteria against Jews were merely part of the anti-Semitic atmosphere in post-Dreyfus case France, and especially in the socially turbulent thirties; for others, his rantings are inexcusably abject and loathsome, and must be thus labeled, though not necessarily banned. Wyatt Mason's provocative New York Review of Books article brings the issue squarely front and center.
Michel Beaujour, Professor of French ,NYU; editor, Cahier Céline (L'Herne)
Denis Hollier, Chair, French Dept., NYU; author of Absent Without Leave
Wyatt Mason, Critic; author of Uncovering Céline (New York Review of Books, Jan. 14, 2010)
Guy Sorman, Journalist, economist; author of Le progrès et ses ennemis
Phil Watts, Chair, Dept. of French, Columbia University; author of Allegories of the Purge:
How Literature Responded to the Postwar Trials of Writers and Intellectuals in France
Tom Bishop, moderator; Director, Center for French Civilization and Culture, NYU; author of From the Left Bank