Saturday, June 14, 2014

Celine talks abut his style

INTERVIEWER:  You caused a scandal with the appearance of Journey [to the End of Night]. Your style shook a lot of habits.

CÉLINE - They call that inventing. Take the impressionists. They took their painting one fine day and went to paint outside. They saw how you really lunch on the grass. The musicians worked at it too. From Bach to Debussy there's a big difference. They've caused some revolutions. They've stirred the colors, the sounds. For me it's words, the positions of words. Where French literature's concerned, there I'm going to be the wise man, make no mistake. We're pupils of the religions—Catholic, Protestant, Jewish . . . Well, the Christian religions. Those who directed French education down through the centuries were the Jesuits. They taught us how to make sentences translated from the Latin, well balanced, with a verb, a subject, a complement, a rhythm. In short—here a speech, there a preach, everywhere a sermon! They say of an author, “He knits a nice sentence!” Me, I say, “It's unreadable.” They say, “What magnificent theatrical language!” I look, I listen. It's flat, it's nothing, it's nil. Me, I've slipped the spoken word into print. In one sole shot.

INTERVIEWER - That's what you call your “little music,” isn't it?

CÉLINE - I call it “little music” because I'm modest, but it's a very hard transformation to achieve. It's work. It doesn't seem like anything the way it is, but it's quality. To do a novel like one of mine you have to write eighty thousand pages in order to get eight hundred. Some people say when talking about me, “There's natural eloquence . . . He writes like he talks . . . Those are everyday words . . . They're practically identical . . . You recognize them.” Well, there, that's “transformation.” That's just not the word you're expecting, not the situation you're expecting. A word used like that becomes at the same time more intimate and more exact than what you usually find there. You make up your style. It helps to get out what you want to show of yourself.

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