What Dalkey Archive Book Are You Reading?
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That's an ambiguous statement. Picked up ... to be used a page at a time? Or perhaps you mean, to be read in relative privacy as the mood strikes.
A nice review. I've got several dense reads going so I'm not tempted to pick that one up just now. It seems rewarding though, and I'll confess off the bat that I was ignorant of the French link to Mexico. How bizarre history is, even that which is relatively recent.
Anyway I think we've had a discussion before about Céline who is very distasteful to a lot of people but IMO one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. Truth is just because you like to read this writer or that doesn't mean that you would like them if you actually met them nor does it mean you'd agree with any or all of the things they thought. An acquaintance of mine--a literature and romance languages professor was very big on all the Latin Boom and Nouveau Roman writers--loose associations if there ever were any. She actually got to know a few of them and had some acquaintance with a great many others. She knew and loved Robert Pinget, Michel Butor, Nathalie Sarraute and Luisa Valenzuela but she couldn't stand the French nobel winner Claude Simon--a dirty, disgusting and vile old man in her opinion and by the way Simon fought with the communists in the Spanish Civil War. I remember her telling me all about these people and I remember laughing when she started ranting about Simon. Another funny thing is I think Pinget and Simon were close friends.
In re: Celine: I think it would be beneficial to reprint his Anti-Semitic tracts (when he actively assisted The Vichy Regime), making them available for the popular audience, not just French literature scholars. While that may seem dangerous, it should be noted that other presses have reprinted The Turner Diaries, despite Timothy McVeigh using them as a blueprint for the Oklahoma City bombing. Yes, the writing is dangerous, but so is burying it and keeping it away from people. Yes, Celine said some vile, racist, disgusting things, but shouldn't we also be able to see all of his writings, not just the critically-acclaimed works? (Granted, this is a topic worthy of a more detailed discussion, rather than the inevitable social media kneejerk hysteria.)
And while I agree with Iriley in #20, I have Alfau on hold, particularly because before I give that author my time there is Palinuro of Mexico, which seems far more deserving.
Add to the list of some time swine poor old Knut Hamsun. I loved especially Mysteries, but he became a pathetic figure. I'll never forget Henry Miller's chagrin when he wrote to this great author and received a reply laden with yelps of need.
Anyway the Belgian writer Louis Paul Boon has a style and flair very much like Céline's only he was the person very much on the left of the political spectrum.
#22--I found Palinuro of Mexico a real struggle. Hope you like it more than I did. It is a very well regarded book. I've read most of Knut Hamsun. Miller was a big, big fan and Miller was partly why I started reading Hamsun. Jean Giono and Lawrence Durrell were other writers that Miller influenced me into reading. What started me on Céline was though punk rock was my thing I used to really like the Doors--and reading the Morrison bio No one here gets out alive--his biographers went on and on in some length on Morrison's quite extensive reading habits. And Céline like Kerouac, Huxley, Gide, Blake were among the writers that inspired Morrison enough that he wrote a song with them in mind. Kerouac's would be Soul Kitchen--Huxley, Gide and Blake figure into Break on through to the other side and Céline's song is End of the night.
But as someone who has read The Turner Diaries, I think it is important we (humanists, not-fascists) preserve and disseminate these texts, if, for nothing else, the educational value. Celine without the fascism and Anti-Semitism is like learning about Medieval Europe without mentioning religion. Not only is this bad scholarship, it is dangerously incomplete. Better discussions are generated when the "full picture" is available ... at least for those interested.
And I got a Dalkey Archive edition of Terra Nostra today. Can't wait to tear into that.