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Gallimard suspends the publication of the anti-Semitic pamphlet of Céline after the controversy

The editor invokes the sensibility with the time to desist from launching a new circulation of pamphlets against the Jews

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Gallimard suspends the publication of the anti-Semitic pamphlet of Céline after the controversy

Readers who wish to read in France a rigorous and contextualized edition of Louis-Ferdinand Céline's anti-Semitic pamphlets (1894-1961) should wait. After weeks of criticism from academia and Jewish organizations and even warnings from French government, editorial Gallimard announced on Thursday that parked reissue of Bagatelles pour un massacre (trifles for a massacre) and two or Céline's texts which, although not illegal, had ceased to be republished after Second World War by order of French writer himself and, after his death, his widow.

More information
  • Céline and her anti-Semitic pamphlets
  • Céline, intreatable
  • France still does not forgive Céline
  • Spanish publishers are debating between criticism and understanding

"In name of my freedom of editor and my sensitivity to my time, suspend this project, judging that methodological and memorial conditions are not given to contemplate it in a serene way," said editor, Antoine Gallimard, in a statement to agency France Presse.

The decision of Gallimard to postpone, without date, publication of pamphlets of Céline closes a chapter in discussion on uncomfortable legacy of one of great writers of French literature of twentieth century and at same time author of texts virulent and Filonazis in C Uestión. France has not resolved what to do with this author: A classic and a stinking, author of central novels in contemporary Canon as a journey to end of night, and at same time of incitement to hatred and praise to Hitler, and collaborator in occupied France.

Gallimard announced in December that it would publish in 2018 a volume with trifles for a massacre, of 1937, L'École des Cadavres ( School of corpses), of 1938, and Them Beaux Draps ( Beautiful Cloths), of 1941. The debate was soon opened. Was project to be prevented? Take more time to prepare an edition that would mitigate risk that Céline's rhetoric would poison contemporary minds in a country that has experienced repeated attacks and anti-Semitic assaults in recent years? Publish it rigorously, and in a prestigious seal, as historical document it is?

Some, like lawyer Serge Klarsfeld — President of Association of Sons and Daughters of deportees in France and for decades most prominent figure in fight against anti-Semitism in this country — threatened to resort to courts to curb publication .

Ors, like essayist Pierre-André Taguieff, accepted that perhaps time had come to publish pamphlets, but y questioned that Gallimard was going to do it in a correct way. They demanded a committee of historians and experts who, in style of what was done in Germany with Mein Kampf (My Struggle) of Adolf Hitler, took a few years to prepare a sufficiently contextualized edition.

The editorial Gallimard, when announcing project, stated that " intention [was] to frame and situate in its context some writings of a great violence, marked notably by anti-Semitic hatred of author". The edition was to be based on that published by Éditions Huit in Quebec (Canada) in 2012, developed by Professor Régis Tettamanzi, and under title of Écrits polémiques (controversial writings). The price of ETA edition in France on internet reaches 300 euros.

In Canada it had been published because rights of work were already public; Not so in France, where y will not be until 2031. Gallimard — Céline's historical editor — considered, after obtaining permission of author's widow, Lucette Destouches, aged 105 years, that it was time to publish book, which now circulates on Internet or in pirated versions. The Gallimard edition was to carry a foreword of writer Pierre Assouline, author of novels and essays on period of occupation and recognized reader of Céline.

In recent weeks criticisms of Gallimard multiplied. They joined petitions to stop publication of Trifles for a massacre organizations such as Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF) or International League Against Racism and anti-Semitism (lycra).

The Ambassador of Israel in France, Aliza Bin-Noun, wrote a letter to Antoine Gallimard asking to renounce project. "In a context of rebounding anti-Semitism," wrote Bin-Noun, " publication of odious pamphlets, which feed old anti-Semitic clichés (...) And incite hatred, even crime against Jews, is as unbearable as intolerable, wher texts are accompanied by a ' critical apparatus ' or not. Anti-Semitism cannot be excused under pretext that this is work of a genius. "

Even prime minister, Édouard Philippe, recognized Célinano, contributed his opinion. "There are excellent reasons to detest man, but writer and his central place in French literature cannot be ignored," he said in an interview with Dominical Journal du dimanche. "I'm not afraid to publish pamphlets, but it must be carefully accompanied."

In mid-December, Frédéric Potier, interministerial delegate for fight against racism, anti-Semitism and hate against gays, summoned Gallimard and Assouline to convey ir concerns. In an interview with country and or media, before last decision of Gallimard, Potier explained: "I have not told Gallimard not to do it, nor do so. I just told m, attention. Crearéis emotions, suscitaréis questions, some people can literally take document if it is not explained, and be ratified in ir prejudices, clichés, stereotypes. The government is not a censor or a controller of publishers. It's not this. It is simply in its role of launching warning signs, indicating that se texts are not literature and you have to take precautions. " And he added, "after each one assumes his responsibilities."

The suspension of project does not mean its annulment definitively, but already being dismissed its publication at least in 2018, as originally envisaged.

Spanish publishers are debating between criticism and understanding

The news of resignation of Gallimard to publish anti-Semitic pamphlet of Céline by controversy generated in France arouses diverse reactions among Spanish publishers. Pere Sureda, from Navona publishing house, is very clear: "Censorship is censorship and does not admit adjectives. It has even published a critical edition of My Fight, of Hitler, who has sold more than 50,000 copies. The editors have to publish texts enclosed in ir cubicles and according to ir interest. Censorship is censorship and it is no use at all: The big censored books have had much more echo than y deserved. What's more, best way to censor today is to publish, "says Pere Sureda.

Silvia Sesé, Anagram editorial director, is not so blunt, surprised that reflection on publishing that text was not done previously. "I am shocked that y did not think about it before and also that if y had thought it y would not maintain ir criterion. These are very sensitive issues that need to be considered a lot although sometimes, in houses as large as Gallimard, I think that decisions are more automatic than y seem. "

Malcolm Otero, editor of Malpaso, assures that everything is publishable, but distinguishes between author and work. "One thing is that a work is execrable and one that is an apology for something execrable. Gallimard has every right to publish and not publish what he wants. T. S. Elliot said that editing is not just publishing things, but preventing things from being published. Of course, my struggle has been important in history. Would I publish it? No, I wouldn't publish it, but I don't criticize it if it's not used as an apology. "

From Editorial plot, Manuel Ortuño criticizes step back of Gallimard without entering ideological or intellectual considerations. He believes that readers have ability "to qualify and distinguish a work of creation from what is right or wrong. Treating m differently is treating m as minors, "he says. He considers Céline's thought despicable, but believes that he has an influential and solid work. "An editor also has a responsibility to disseminate polemics and debates. There will be red lines in edition, but I am not one who should define m or know where to put m. "

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