The unpublished novel Guerre was published on May 5, 2022 in Gallimard’s Blanche collection. The edition was prepared by Pascal Fouché with a foreword by François Gibault. This text is the first to be published after the reappearance in 2021 of thousands of unpublished leaflets by the author of Voyage au bout de la nuit.
A circulation of about 80,000 copies is announced by the publisher for this text “which belongs to the triptych “Enfance-War-London”, the first part of which Death on Credit was published in 1936. Guerre is published in its first and only known editorial state, dating from 1934 and allows us to follow Ferdinand Bardamu, from Belgium where he is hospitalized in a village in Flanders, to England.
The story opens with the moment when Brigadier Ferdinand regains consciousness on a battlefield where he was seriously wounded. He follows his convalescence in a hospital where he binds himself with a nurse and a pimp, Bébert. His obsession, like that of all the wounded: having to go back to battle. He will escape it by being declared unfit and sent to London.
Gallimard is also planning an exhibition entitled “Céline, les manuscrits retrouvés”, at the Gallimard gallery in Paris, from May 6 to July 16, 2022, curated by academic Alban Cerisier.
Two other unpublished ones will follow in the autumn, London, the story of his departure for the British capital in 1915, which should be much longer than War, and a medieval tale, The Will of King Krogold.
Finally, in 2023, Gallimard intends to publish new editions of the novel Casse-pipe, unfinished in its previously known edition, and Volume III of Céline’s novels in the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade.
The discovery of Céline’s unpublished writings in fantastic shape is the cultural event of the decade. The writer, who has long decried thievery, had been unable to return to his manuscripts, leaving Gallimard, his publisher, to restore order to the creative literary battlefield. The first stage began on May 5, 1934, with the publication of “Guarre/War,” a half-autobiographical, half-fictional account of Brigadier Ferdinand’s horrific experience on the Great War front. Two new books will occupy the writer’s job in the fall. The character Ferdinand appears in a novella titled “London.” The renowned “The Will of King Krogold,” a medieval tale that many celinians fantasize about, was then proposed to Denol, who had turned it down.
Finally, in early 2023, a new edition of “Casse-pipe” will be released in bookstores, along with a redesign of Céline’s Pleiade novels. Exegetes, critics, and amateurs are all waiting to seize the texts’ quality. But everyone is about to travel at the end of the night.
In conjunction with the publication of that Gallimard is having an exhibit at the Galerie Gallimard on Céline: manuscrits retrouvés; it runs 6 May through 16 July. ✪