louis-ferdinand céline, "journey to the end of the night"

Travel is a good thing; it stimulates the imagination. Everything else is a snare and a delusion. Our own journey is entirely imaginative. Therein lies its strength.

It leads from life to death. Men, beasts, cities, everything in it is imaginary. It’s a novel, only a made-up story. The dictionary says so and it is never wrong.

Besides, everyone can go and do likewise. Shut your eyes, that’s all that is necessary.

There you have life seen from the other side.

The greatest defeat, in anything, is to forget, and above all to forget what it is that has smashed you, and to let yourself be smashed without ever realizing how thoroughly devilish men can be. When our time is up we people mustn’t bear malice, but neither must we forget:we must tell the whole thing without altering one word, everything we have seen of man’s viciousness; and then it will all be over and time to go. That is enough of a job for a whole life.

It’s harder to lose one’s wish to love than the wish to live. One spends one’s time in this world killing and adoring, and one does both together. ‘I hate you! I love you!’ You defend yourself and have a good time and pass on life to some biped in the next century, frantically, at all costs, as if to be continued were a tremendously pleasant thing, as if, after all, that could make one live forever.

Nothing entices memory out of its hiding-place so well as flames and smells.

Truth is a pain which will not stop. And the truth of this world is to die. You must choose: either dying or lying.

Then dreams waft upwards in the darkness to join the mirages of silver light. They are not quite real, the things that happen on the screen, they stay in some wide, troubled domain meant for the poor, for dreams and for dead man. You have to hurry to stuff yourself with these dreams so as to endure the life which is waiting for you outside, once you’ve left the cinema, so as to last through a few more days of this strife with men and things.

… he had always been frightened of life, now there was something else he feared, his death, his own blood pressure, just as for forty years he had feared not being able to finish the payments on his house.

That’s the way the world goes, spinning in a night of peril and silence.

He was crying. He himself had come to the end of things.
… There is a moment when you are all alone by yourself and have come to the end of all that can happen to you. It’s the end of the world. Unhappiness itself, your own misery, won’t answer you kno and you have to go back among men no matter what.

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