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SUFFERING AND HORROR

or of Dante's avoidance of death, which initiates the first canto of the Divine Comedy. The trilogy in which the Second World War's horror unfolds, From Castle to Castle, North, and Rigadoon, best captures the wound that Celine never ceases to palpate, from the individual's to society's. In the political and social fresco, overflowing with rejections and sarcasms directed against a political position that in other respects Celine seems to endorse (a point I shall return to), with betrayals, escapades, massacres, bombings, and destruction, the most destructive aggressivity suddenly shows its abominable, sickly side, within an infernal jouissance—History's abject motive. The site of Celine's scnption is always that fascinating crest of decomposition-composition, suffering-music, and abomination-ecstasy. . . . let them rot, stink, ooze, end up in the sewer . . . they keep wondering what they can do in Gennevilliers . . . easy! fertilize the fields! ...[...] the true sense of History . . . and what we've come to! jumping this way! . . . whoops! and that way!. . . the death dance! impalements! purges! vivisections! . . . twice tanned hides, smoking . . . spoiled, skulking voyeurs, let it start all over again! guts ripped out by hand! let's hear the cries, the death rattles ... a national orgasm!4 Let me recall, in connection with the apocalyptic music of the trilogy, the bombing of Hamburg where, amidst the din, the stench, and the chaos, the frenzy of abjection turns into sinister beauty: these green and pink flames were dancing around . . . and around . . . and shooting up at the sky! . . . those streets of green . . . pink . . . and red rubble . . . you can't deny it . . . looked a lot more cheerful ... a carnival of flames . . . than in their normal condition . . . gloomy sourpuss bricks . . . it took chaos to liven them up ... an earthquake ... a conflagration with the Apocalypse coming out of it! (R, 130) I've told you what it was like, three four times the size of Notre Dame ...[...] the light came from up top ... the crater hole ... the effect, I repeat, was like an enormous nave of solid clay •-.[...] Hamburg had been destroyed with liquid phosphorus ... the Pompei deal ... the whole place had caught fire, houses^, street, asphalt, and

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Powers of Horror  

Powers of Horror-Julia Kristeva

Powers of Horror  

Powers of Horror-Julia Kristeva

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