Posted by Roger Boylan on Thursday, February 10, 2011
In violent contrast to Nabokov, than whom it would be impossible to be more civilized in art and life, is Louis-Ferdinand Céline, author of Journey to the End of the Night and Castle to Castle, than whom it would be almost impossible to be more of a bastard. Indeed, the bastardness of the man is the topic of a heated debate in France: Is it justifiable to celebrate the life of a brilliant writer who was also a misanthrope and anti-Semite? Maybe "celebrate" is the wrong word. But there's nothing to be gained by ignoring him, and if you concentrate on the work, which is indeed riveting--or so I thought when I read it 20+ years ago--all you have to do is qualify your admiration by saying "Of course, he was an absolute bastard."
Anyway, evidence suggests that he was something of an equal-opportunity hater, not just an anti-Semite, an anthropophobe.