Only recently I realised the connection between the beatniks and the great Louis Ferdinand Céline. Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs admired him to bits and went to meet him in his self exile in France; don’t know if they managed, rather doubt it. I read the beatniks in my teenage years; Céline in my forties. Looking back, I say once more: sometime, the self admiring professionals – in the arts – should shut up and dare to face their naked self. After all, that is the truth of art; the rest is decoration.
‘The worst part is wondering how you’ll find the strength tomorrow to go on doing what you did today and have been doing for much too long, where you’ll find the strength for all that stupid running around, those projects that come to nothing, those attempts to escape from crushing necessity, which always founder and serve only to convince you one more time that destiny is implacable, that every night will find you down and out, crushed by the dread of more and more sordid and insecure tomorrows.
And maybe it’s treacherous old age coming on, threatening the worst. Not much music left inside us for life to dance to. Our youth has gone to the ends of the earth to die in the silence of the truth. And where, I ask you, can a man escape to, when he hasn’t enough madness left inside him? The truth is an endless death agony. The truth is death. You have to choose : death or lies. I’ve never been able to kill myself.’
extract from the ‘Journey to the end of the night’ by L.F.Céline