Sunday Story – Louis Ferdinand Céline, convalescing in Hasbrouck after being injured during World War I, between fiction and reality

An unpublished novel by Louis Ferdinand Céline called Guerre was published 60 years after the author’s death. An autobiographical novel in which the controversial writer recounts his injury to the forehead in 1914 and his recovery in a war hospital set up at a college in Hasbrouck.

The early Céliniens did not wait for the unpublished novel to be published to take care of the writer Hazebrouck. But by all accounts, war It offers new clues to understanding these few weeks of the author’s convalescence in Flanders at the end of 1914.

“War is a fantasy, Nordic writer Jay Fontaine analyzes. But Celine is a witch. He managed to change everything he says, that is, everything or almost everything can be verified in the novel. ”

Yes, Louis Ferdinand Céline was treated for several weeks at Hasbrooke at the end of year 14 as Ferdinand in Bordeaux-sur-la-Lies in the novel. Yes, Louis-Ferdinand Céline had a romantic relationship with Alice David, the assistant hospital nurse number 6 as Ferdinand with Mademoiselle Lipsenas in the novel. “There are real points, but Celine changed everything dramatically.” Remembers Pierre-Marie Miro, assistant modern literature and author Celine to the north.

“After his war and after he was admitted to the hospital, twenty years passed, Summarizes Jay Fontaine. He has time to practice this writer’s reality-transforming chemistry. becomes literature.. Between fiction and reality, we are immersed in Hazebrouck’s residence of one of history’s most controversial authors.

He has time to practice this writer’s reality-transforming chemistry. and become literature

Jay Fontaine, writer

Before learning more about the writer’s stay in Hazbrok thanks to the unpublished novel, it is necessary to understand how war It can be published sixty years after the death of its author. great story.

Celine became famous in 1932 for Journey to the End of the Night, and the 1914 War was the impetus for this novelRemembers Jay Fontaine. His publisher promises a sequel. This sequel, written by Louis Ferdinand Céline in 1934, twenty years after his experience in the foreground. Draft manuscript entitled war which will remain stored in the closet of his Parisian apartment.

In 1944, an anti-Semitic writer fled France to reach Germany, leaving behind more than 6,000 papers stolen by resistance fighters. In the early 2000s, these stolen manuscripts were handed over to a former Liberation journalist, who held them invaluable until the death in 2019.

Compiled by the rights holders, it will be validated and its existence revealed in August 2021. Acquired and published by Gallimard Publishing war Friday 5 May 2022.

On October 27, 1914, fighting broke out throughout the Belgian city of Ypres. At the time, Louis Destoches – better known as Louis Ferdinand Céline – was 20 years old. The young man is part of the 12th Armor Regiment and participates in the clashes. Then he was hit in the right arm and fell violently.

Seriously wounded, Private Dustius was evacuated by the army and boarded a train bound for Dunkirk for treatment. But the writer, who was in poor condition and suffering horribly from his injuries, finally came down to Hazebrouck and was admitted to Additional Hospital No. 6, installed in the enclosure of the current Saint-Jacques High School. He will have surgery two days later by Dr. Sinelart.

In the novel, the town of Hazebrouck is renamed Peurdu-sur-la-Lys. Additional Hospital No. 6 becomes Virginal Secours and the current high school library serving at that time as a hospital is called the Saint Gonzef Room. Celine describes the place: “SThere were probably 25 people in each of Salle Saint-Gonzef. In the evening, about ten in the morning, I saw at least a hundred of them. I turned to my pen and tried to keep my mouth shut so as not to wake the others.

The former dormitory now houses the Documentation and Information Center for Saint-Jacques High School. The pillars of the central aisle remained intact. In a transparency photo taken in 1915, we see the medical team next to the bed of the war-wounded. In total, a hundred beds were installed at Saint-Jacques Hospital.

During the course of the novel and Ferdinand’s recovery, the writer delved into the scenes that took place outside the walls of Saint-Jacques Hospital.

While wandering with his companion Bébért, the main protagonist discovers the town of Hazebrouck, renamed for the occasion Peurdu-sur-la-Lys. “Peurdu-sur-la-Lys presented himself in a weary way, Celine writes. The square is in the center, lined with well-finished stone houses like a real museum. A market with carrots, turnips and salted meat in the middle, it rejoices.”

A few pages later, he described a café – excessive – on the border.main field”, the current great place. Celine explains the path it took to get there from the hospital, passing through the arches of the town hall that still exist today. “So we turn to the street where the town hall was, and then which has a huge staircase that opens in a fan to the middle of the central square.

“Celine’s mops with her friend Bieber are now known places because they run in the main square, that is, the big square, under the halls of the town hall and in one of the little taverns next to the place in question”, Jay Fontaine explains.

Far from describing places loyal to the geography of the city of Flanders, in the book Louis-Ferdinand Céline recounts his trauma from the war and his encounter with a nurse. The writer portrays Mademoiselle Lespinas as “masturbation” Death is under their sheets, and Private Ferdinand is no exception. On several occasions, the writer depicts the sexual scenes that take place in the dormitory.

Celine talks about the adventure of a romantic friendship he already had with nurse Alice David, Progressing young man Fountain. The letters found testify to the authenticity of the exchanges. “The correspondence they have is a beautiful correspondence that begins with ‘Dear Alice’ or ‘Dear Louis Ferdinand.’ It soon becomes ‘big’, ‘big’, and finally ‘my love’, ‘my love.’ They say things to each other out of the arrangement of amorous friendship. But in the novel, he makes this woman someone wholly thirsty for sex and has nothing to do with the dedicated nurse who takes care of his arm injury”.

A view shared by Pierre-Marie Miro, who has done extensive research on this relationship. “Alice David was a 40-year-old woman. An educated lady, born into a large family. His father was a director of the Flanders Index. Trained for the Red Cross, she fell in love with a young soldier, 20-year-old Destuches, a rather handsome and glorified man of some glory.. According to him, the nurse Lespinasse described in the war could correspond to him. “We can assume Mademoiselle Lespinas superimposed on Alice David’s character, but it’s definitely not her. There is a scene about a mutual kiss, it is possible. But when Celine narrates the direct masturbation scenes, it wasn’t really Alice David’s style”, He laughs. “It’s a fantasy but there are rules.”

After the discovery of the war, a second unpublished novel by Louis Ferdinand Céline is supposed to be published at the end of the year. Also found among the lost manuscripts, London will narrate the writer’s residence across the canal.

Leave a Comment