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A dialogue on Louis-Ferdinand Céline

Venue: Online

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Conversation on the question of whether it is possible to separate the art from the artist, between acclaimed French novelist Michaël Ferrier and Birkbeck’s Damian Catani. Online.

Damian Catani’s biography of the controversial French novelist Louis-Ferdinand Céline was published by Reaktion Books in September 2021. Damian will be in conversation with acclaimed French novelist Michaël Ferrier, on the question of whether it is possible to separate the art from the artist when the artist has as abhorrent political views as Céline had, especially considering the fact that his novels drew so much on his own life. However, the debate will not focus solely on this aspect of Céline; it will also explore the literary impact of a novelist described by Marie Darrieussecq as “One of the best French writers ever, who re-invented the very language of literature, and a complete SALOPARD”.

This event is organised by the Centre for French, Francophone and Comparative Studies (CFFCS), at Birkbeck.

Dr. Damian Catani is Senior Lecturer in French at Birkbeck, University of London. He is a specialist in 19th- and 20th-century French literature, especially late 19th-century poetry and the relationship between literature and ethics. His other published books are The Poet in Society: Art Consumerism and Politics in Mallarmé (2003), and Evil: A History in Modern French Literature and Thought (2013).

Michaël Ferrier is a Franco-Mauritian essayist and the award-winning author of several novels. He is also professor of French at Chuo University in Tokyo, Japan. His latest novels are Mémoires d'Outre-Mer (2015), translated as Over Seas of Memory (2019), and Scrabble: une enfance tchadienne (2019). Ferrier is a great reader of Céline and has published a book on Céline entitled Louis-Ferdinand Céline et la chanson (2004).

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