Gallimard suspend the reprint of the pamphlets of anti-semitic Céline

Photo: Lionel Bonaventure Archives Agence France-Presse
Gallimard wanted to release a “critical edition” of pamphlets, anti-semitic writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline.

Faced with an outcry since the announcement of a possible re-release of the pamphlets, anti-semitic Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Antoine Gallimard, has preferred to throw in the towel and suspend this controversial project.


“In the name of my freedom publisher, and my sensitivity to my time, I hang-up the project, holding that the conditions for methodological and historical memory are not met to consider it calmly,” said Antoine Gallimard in a text sent to AFP.


The project to re-edit the pamphlets of anti-semitic Céline (Bagatelles for a massacre, The School of corpses and The fine linen) had aroused a wave of indignation, particularly on the part of Serge Klarsfeld, president of the association of the Sons and daughters of deported jews of France.


This project ” is an aggression against the Jews of France “, were repeated on Thursday morning Mr. Klarsfeld on Europe 1.


Gallimard wanted to release a “critical edition” of pamphlets ” without complacency, no “.

The pamphlets of Céline belong to the history of anti-semitism French the most infamous. But to criticize the censorship is an obstacle to the full implementation in light of their roots.
Antoine Gallimard

In a statement sent to AFP on 20 December, the parisian publisher said he wanted to draw the” critical edition ” of pamphlets céliniens published in Quebec in 2012 by the publishing house canadian Editions 8.


It ensured that the book would be accompanied by an analysis of the university professor Régis Tettamanzi and a preface of the writer Pierre Assouline.


It was, according to the prime minister, Édouard Philippe, and entered into this debate, the only condition acceptable to the pamphlets can be reissued.


“I’m not afraid of the publication of these pamphlets, but it will carefully accompany it,” said the head of government in an interview in the Sunday Newspaper.


Between “lighting” and ” incitement to hatred “


“The pamphlets of Céline belong to the history of anti-semitism French the most infamous. But to criticize the censorship is an obstacle to the full implementation in light of their roots and their ideological impact, and creates morbid curiosity, where do must exercise our faculty of judgement “, recalled Thursday, Antoine Gallimard.


But, he added, ” I understand and share the emotion of the readers that the perspective of this edition being shocked, hurt or worried for reasons that are human and ethical self-evident “.


“It is a wise decision to postpone sine die the re-edition, and for us it is a satisfaction,” responded to AFP the president of the representative Council of jewish institutions of France (CRIF), Francis Kalifat.


Celine ” was expressing his hatred of Jews — not just Jews, but also Blacks. These are fire-ship anti-semitic and racist ” who “would fall under the purview of the act if they were released today,” according to the community manager.


“No date of publication was not fixed at this stage,” said Antoine Gallimard. The texts in question were written by the author of the Journey to the end of the night between 1937 and 1941.


They should fall into the public domain in 2031 (or 70 years after the author died in 1961) and will then be free of rights.


In a press release, the international League against racism and antisemitism (LICRA) has praised the “responsible decision” by Antoine Gallimard while he believed that the release of the “rights-based” issue.


For the LICRA, ” in the face of the editions of propaganda that will be aired by the anti-semitic, and that he will have to fight, a critical work […] will be needed in a single goal : deconstruct, word-for-word, anti-semitism violent in which the pen of Céline has been soaked “.


The pamphlets of Céline are not banned in France, but have not been republished since the end of the Second world War. The writer himself, and then his widow, Lucette Destouches, aged 105 years, were opposed. However, they can easily be found on the internet or purchased in second-hand bookshops.


According to Antoine Gallimard, the project of re-edition had been made ” some months ago “, on the initiative of François Gibault, executor of the estate of Céline and lawyer Lucette Destouches.