Louis-Ferdinand Céline

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Louis-Ferdinand Céline was the pen name of French writer and medical doctor Louis-Ferdinand Destouches (27 May 1894 – 1 July 1961). Céline was chosen after his grandmother's first name. He is considered one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, developing a new style of writing that modernized both French and World literature. He remains, however, a controversial figure because of his satirical anti-Semitic tracts published during 1937 and his support for Vichy France during the Second World War.

Contents

Life

Early life

Medieval
16th century · 17th century
18th century · 19th century
20th century · Contemporary

Chronological list
Writers by category
Novelists · Playwrights
Poets · Essayists
Short story writers

The only child of Ferdinand-Auguste Destouches and Marguerite-Louise-Céline Guilloux, he was born Louis-Ferdinand Destouches in 1894 at Courbevoie, just outside Paris in the Seine département (now Hauts-de-Seine). His father was a minor functionary in an insurance firm and his mother was a lacemaker.[2] During 1905 he was awarded his Certificat d'études, after which he began working as an apprentice and messenger boy in various trades.[2] Between 1908 and 1910 his parents sent him to Germany and England for a year in each country in order to acquire foreign languages for future employment.[2] From the time he left school, until the age of eighteen, Céline worked various jobs, leaving or losing them after only short periods of time. He often found himself working for jewellers, first, at eleven, as an errand boy, and later as a salesperson for a local goldsmith. Although he was no longer being formally educated, he bought schoolbooks with the money he earned, and studied by himself. In 1912, at the age of eighteen, the young, self-taught, Céline took and passed the first part of his baccalauréat. It was around this time that Céline started to want to become a doctor.[3]

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