CÉLINE Louis-Ferdinand (1894-1961). AUTOGRAPHIC... - Lot 31 - Drouot Estimations

Lot 31
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CÉLINE Louis-Ferdinand (1894-1961). AUTOGRAPHIC... - Lot 31 - Drouot Estimations
CÉLINE Louis-Ferdinand (1894-1961). AUTOGRAPHIC MANUSCRIPT, [Nord, ca. 1959]; 1509 pages in-4 (mostly 27 x 21 cm). Important manuscript of the first version of the novel Nord. Second novel of the German trilogy, transposing in novelistic form the peregrinations in Germany, at the end of the war, of Céline, his wife Lucette and their cat Bébert, in company of the actor le Vigan, Nord follows D'un château l'autre (1957). It was written over a period of two and a half years, from the spring of 1957 to the end of 1959; the novel was published by Gallimard in May 1960. Let's quote Roger Nimier's excellent blurb: "Céline in the middle of Germany in flames, such is the subject of Nord. Actor, reciter and seer at the same time, the author finds himself in Baden-Baden, in the months preceding the collapse of the Reich. A strange palace where caviar, bouillabaisse and champagne count more than the bombings. The astonishing Baroness von Seckt, a survivor from another world [...] Then it's Berlin, with its gutted houses, the display of a stubborn organization amidst the ruins. Céline and her companions in misfortune (her wife Lili, the actor Le Vigan, the cat Bébert) are sent one hundred kilometers from the capital, to Zornhof, in a huge property ruled by a madman. [...] And around the four Frenchmen (because Bébert counts as a Frenchman) lives a Shakespearean family in a country inhabited by Poles, Berlin prostitutes and conscientious objectors, all fat and robust, to whom the Reich has coffins made. Céline wants to be a chronicler; but he describes the Germany of the debacle as Dante visited the circles of his Inferno".... Nimier described Nord as "the most beautiful book by Céline since Journey to the End of the Night". The manuscript is written in blue ballpoint pen, on the fronts of 1509 sheets of various papers, in cream, yellow, water green or pale blue, with the numbers of the sequences written in red ballpoint pen (or in red pencil), in the upper left corner, as well as the pagination; that is to say 33 sequences of various lengths (from about ten pages to more than 250), numbered 4 to 23 (without the end of 23) and from 33 to 44, the whole corresponding to pages 304 to 529 and 592 to 707 of the edition in volume II of the Romans dans la Bibliothèque de la Pléiade. Some versos (8) bear annotations as well as a few essays of an earlier redaction crossed out; two small plans traced in pen and a few names and addresses also appear on the versos of some leaves. A few pins holding the section sheets have remained attached. To the first version is added a set of 50 pages on Navarre paper, numbered from 43 to 91 forming sequences 6 and 6 bis. This passage, extensively crossed out and corrected, corresponds to the beginning of the novel, when Céline, his wife Lili, and the cat Bébert, joined shortly afterwards by the actor Le Vigan, all having fled France at the approach of the Liberation and finding themselves in Germany, in Baden-Baden, are looking for lodging. After the failed attempt on Hitler's life, they are sent to Berlin, where they find a hotel, a kind of ghost ship, in which the corridors lead to chasms dug by bombs, whose doors no longer open and whose walls have collapsed. "Is luck running out on you? You are flower and miserable shame of the universe! The luck is yours? Everything is allowed to you! The most beautiful avenues in your name! All the Institutes in your slot, licking who better!... The Casino of history has a roulette wheel that doesn't laugh, that doesn't care if you are a hundred thousand times right! [...] Don't worry Mr. Celine, they have their idea ! You will see this great catastrophe unfold according to a plan. You will have a role"... Detail of the sequences : - 4 (24 p. numbers 11-19 / Pléiade 304-311) : "You are a chronicler, you tell me ?"... ; - 5 (7 p. 35-41 / Pl.311-312) : "oh yes, my story, I agree, what a mess !"... ; - 6 (14 p. 42-55 / Pl.313- 316) : "It is indeed possible that all this valley of the Oos is more than a gutter of atomic detritus"...; - 6 Bis (46 p. 56-101 / Pl.316-326) : "No! smell the air!... appreciate!"... ; - 7 (7 p. 102-108 / Pl.327-328) : "Since the moment when we left, without fanfare, our street Girardon, Montmartre, chased by the "small coffins""... ; - 8 (6 p. 109-114 / Pl.329-330) : "Here is an amusing detail... Mrs. von Seckt already knew that we were leaving the next day at dawn"...; - 9 (11 p. 115-125 / Pl.330-333) : "It's my fault!... my very big fault!... you will find each other, I hope"...; - 10 (258 p. 126- 368 / Pl.333-375): "Me, my canes, Lili, Bébert, here we are, in Berlin, tourists"...; - 11 (20 p. 369-386 (Pl.375-378): "You speak in fact of sandwiches! achtung!"...; - 12 (79 p. 387-466 / Pl.378-394): "I speak to Lili... I speak to La Vigue... very gently"...;
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