23 September 2011

Louis-Ferdinand Céline in Meudon-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine (92), France: Literary Île-de-France #5

In Meudon-sur-Seine, Céline's house at 25 Route des Gardes is easy to find, although it's hidden behind a wall.

This is the path leading to it.

I don't think a great deal has changed to the appearance since his death.

Even the gates appear to be the same.

Finding Céline's grave is another matter. The Cimetière des Longs Réages is difficult enough to find anyway (I had to ask two locals who certainly knew, but the entrance, although quite large, is obscure), and then there's the problem of finding the grave, as the office appears to be permanently closed, or perhaps only during the time that the workmen re-build the toilet block, etc.

I don't know how long exactly I spent walking round, but eventually I found a shady spot to power up my netbook to look at an old photo I'd downloaded from the net. I've no idea how old this photo is, but if anyone objects to an infringement of copyright, please post a comment at the bottom of this post and I'll remove it as soon as I see it. But I must admit the photo was very useful, and even I could spot the cemetery gates on the right and then deduced more or less where the grave is.

The Société d'études céliniennes had placed a (now almost illegible due to sunning - its metal parts rusted) band around it, which I temporarily removed so that I could take a photo of a more original state of the grave.

Here at least, Céline is recognized: earlier this year, I wrote here about the spinelessness of the French government kowtowing to the Jewish lobby in the form, I believe, of only one tedious but noisy guy, thus backtracking on its original intention to celebrate the fifty years since the death of this brilliant and highly influential writer who was admittedly anti-semitic, therefore in some ways insane like all racists.

The engraving of the ship is an interesting feature.

I'm a little unclear about the existence of the small cross to the top left: Céline was an atheist up to his death as far as I know, so there must be some story here. Maybe someone more knowledgeable of this area of Céline's life can enlighten us.


Anonymous said...

That was some interesting stuff there. Thanks for posting it.

R.O.H. Van der Hope. said...

About that cross. No mystery there. Celine was no less a religious person than anyone else, including Jewish people in general. It was MANKIND that he despised, with all of its selfishness. He helped numerous people, including Jewish ones, and the poorer you were the more he helped. That reminds you of someone?

Dr Tony Shaw said...

I'm still unsure about this: in a French TV interview a few years before Céline's death, he was quite emphatic about his disbelief. I'm informed that the ship was etched when the cement was wet, whereas the cross was made after. I fail to believe that it was Céline's wish to have a cross on his tomb.

Also, yes, Céline was a misanthropist, but it was the three anti-Semitic pamphlets that caused all the storm - they really are violently anti-Jewish. But of course he had his contradictions, and even a Jewish girlfriend (whom he didn't exactly treat very well, and the relationship reminds me a little of Sartre's idea of the anti-Jewish individual needing the object of his contempt constantly under his eyes.

But of course, Céline was without doubt a tireless helper of the poor, including poor Jews, so I of course agree with you there.

Nevertheless, I'm not reminded of who I think you're suggesting :-)