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CÉLINE, Louis-Ferdinand.

Guignol’s Band.

Translated from the French by Bernard Frechtman and Jack T. Nile.

Published: New York: New Directions, 1954

Stock code: 85650

Price: £4,250

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From the library of Allen Ginsberg, with his ownership inscription to the front free endpaper, “Bought by HG & NC, 1954, San Jose. 1968 – AG”. “NC” was, of course, Neal Cassady, who had met Ginsberg and the other Beats in New York in the 1940s and maintained close ties to them after settling in California, with Ginsberg visiting on several occasions. This volume, purchased during one such visit only a few years before Cassady’s death, is the first English language edition of Celine’s semi-autobiographical novel exploring the life of a French solider invalided during the First World War and living among “thieves, pimps, prostitutes, fakers, junkies, cops, and cut-throats” in London (Commentary, November 1954). It was not a success on its original publication in France in 1944, but the novel’s outsider viewpoint and stream-of-consciousness style would certainly have appealed to the Beats, and it contains stylistic similarities to Kerouac’s On The Road. A superb association.

Octavo. Original grey cloth, titles to spine in dark blue. Spine a little toned, small white spot to upper board, endpapers toned. An excellent copy.

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