Céline is a twentieth century Qohélet, burdened with the weight of wanting to know everything. The overbearing nature of death, and the end of everything – in death. Ferdinand’s persecution of himself is masochistic and perverse because it cannot be curbed, but only multiplied by the impetuosity of his thinking and living, speaking and writing.
«He “is a man tormented by endlessness”, trying to find a punishment for universal selfishness; one who knows too much and yet does not know enough, who is disturbed by the desire of knowing more”[…]. “Is this perhaps what one seeks in life, the greatest possible punishment, to become oneself before one dies?”».
The rhythm of his page, of his petite musique, engraved on the score of existence’s ruins seems to beat a frenzied tempo, in which the incessant becoming reverberates the asphyxia of an endless race, with its accelerated, irregular, breath-taking heartbeat. It bounces off the white spaces, between the black ink, until it collapses into an incurable arrhythmia, syncopated, panting, like a heart pounding at the temples just before a heart attack. This music resounds with the harmony of destiny and the immovability of an irresistible panic, which often turns into chaotic irony that engulfs everything.
His words and his explosive versifications ferment on exposure to our eyeballs. They stumble and beat with the frenzied rhythm of a heart in fear and with anguished laughter.
Céline’s truth is a pestilence, and «the plague […] is a delirium, a form of communication». His narrative, «with a gestural imprint, is as thick as a verbal warp», cannot but become an ever more torn ensemble of gasps and exclamations, which contract into an endless scream, and then disperses into mouthfuls of words, spit and blasphemy – all tossed into our faces. His novels, however – we ought not to forget – are enterprises of language rather than images of reality. Céline’s truth is his style. The revolting and hateful page, vulgar and unclean, is the result of a refined work on words: «faced with so many accusations of coarseness, Céline emphasises what patience and delicacy a work like his entails». What troubles us, in our shining guise of cultured readers, safe inhabitants of the castle of civilisation and culture, is not so much the risk of being infected by contact with these pages, as having to undergo, in them, a violent squaring up of our soul, which suddenly presents itself to our eyes naked, stripped even of its self-respect, without any shelter, in the restless spectacle of a plague that is not only carnal and physical, but also psychological and spiritual.
«The erotic aggressiveness of Céline’s writing is thereby a demonstration of the tenacious, lenticular, Flauberian scruple of language […] the conscience’s rigour, the effort of total representation wherein the affirmation of life allows itself to be ” tainted ” and excavated by denial. After all, narration cannot save itself from the disease of the “Bourget style” unless it becomes a scenario, a carnivalesque language, where tragedy is realised in the power of physical and anarchic dissociation of laughter».
His words and his explosive versifications ferment on exposure to our eyeballs. They stumble and beat with the frenzied rhythm of a heart in fear and with anguished laughter. They conjure thoughts, from the depths of our minds, destined to be bitten and destroyed by lips and teeth; only to spit out the conflict from its source, set in some dark recess of the spirit, and the fragment of light that is there hidden.
Irony and laughter emerge «from the depths of the most extreme wretchedness [as] a sign of a new-found zest for life». They both emerge from a tragic nocturnal gurgling, gushing out like bitter distillation from a desperate quest for solace, for a place where torment and anguish can subside. They then become flesh in the «victim of a reality, who accepts to transform himself into a juggler, into a theatrical producer, into an inventor of illusionary material, dancing on a desert of ruins and demise». Yet, tirelessly, the language’s frenzied dynamism, the vocal aggression, the delirium of impulses, the impotence of reason in the face of life, drag Ferdinand away, from one threat to another. His crazy day-to-day life is that of, a «starving soul», a doctor close to the forgotten men of the Parisian suburbs, among the city’s outcasts, where every forename is a sign of suffering, and he is always on the verge of oblivion and vulgar degradation. He and they are immersed in the rotten stench that exhales from the streets and from the mouths that surround them, that very bad breath revealing first and foremost the rot and corruption that mutilate and unravel man, and the places that accommodate him. Life in «illness with all its implications of mistakes and faults, and death, as the absolute end of our earthly presence, all have extraordinarily sharpened his sensitivity and finally led him to questions, to anxieties, to a shared form of pain and love».
In a universe in which every saving word remains misunderstood, also seeming lost, and every expectation exudes defeat, «Céline brutally avoids wasting time, infecting us with a word, distancing us from truth, from emotions, from music, from life and death. He is a formidable destroyer of stupidity, uselessness, stylistic emptiness; a furious avenger of the word, an authentic and truthful oracle». And he is so with his pestilent language, before which we have no need to defend ourselves, nor even take shelter, because he teaches us that when our world is saturated by darkness, at that instant and only at that precise instant, can the advent of a truly pure and miraculous light occur, of a «life both lost and saved in infinite love».
 This passage was translated by La Livella’s translator, the same applies for the passages that follow the footnotes below. The Italian source is: Céline, ovvero lo scandalo di un secolo di E. Ferrero in L.F. Céline, Viaggio al termine della notte, Corbaccio, Milano, 2017, p. 563.
 Translated from A. Artaud, Il teatro e il suo doppio, Einaudi, Torino, 2000, p. 145.
 Translated from Introduzione di G.Guglielmi in L.F. Céline, Casse-pipe, Einaudi, Torino, 1995, p. XXIII.
 Translated from Prefazione di H. Godard in L.F. Céline, Trilogia del nord, Einaudi-Gallimard, Torino, 1994, p.XXXII.
 Translated from Introduzione di G.Guglielmi in L.F. Céline, Casse-pipe, cit., p. XXIV.
 Translated from Prefazione di H. Godard in L.F. Céline, Trilogia del nord, cit., p.XII.
 Translated from Saggio critico di C. Bo in L.F. Céline, Morte a credito, Garzanti, Milano, 2007, p. XX.
 Translated from Semmelweis, Céline, la morte di G. Ceronetti in L.F. Céline, Il dottor Semmelweis, Milano, Adelphi, 2016, p. 111.
 Translated from Saggio critico di C. Bo in L.F. Céline, Morte a credito, cit., p. IX.
 Translated from Semmelweis, Céline, la morte di G. Ceronetti in L.F. Céline, Il dottor Semmelweis, cit., p. 109.
 Translated from the same Semmelweis, Céline, la morte di G. Ceronetti in L.F. Céline, Il dottor Semmelweis, cit., but p. 112.