Louis-Ferdinand Céline

1894 (Courbevoie, France) – 1961 (Meudon)

Céline’s influential and expressive explorations of vernacular language have to be set against his notorious self-admitted anti-semitism. Paulhan, as an editor at Gallimard, corresponded and decided to publish him (Gallimard himself signed his letters ‘your faithful friend’). Aymé was a friend, and wrote a preface for one of his books. Miller, another correspondent, was influenced by him, and directed Burroughs to him. He became something of a cult figure for the beat writers; by the time Burroughs and Ginsberg visited (Burroughs giving him a copy of ‘Junkie’), Céline was convinced his neighbours were out to poison his numerous cats.