The prefect Frédéric Potier, interministerial delegate to the fight against racism, anti-Semitism and anti-LGBT hate, warned the Gallimard editions about the risks of a reissue of anti-Semitic pamphlets by Louis-Ferdinand Céline.
"These are outright antisemitic and racist works. I reread last night part of 'The School of corpses', which dates from 1937: it is not a soft version of the 'Journey at the end of the night', but incitement to hatred pure and hard, "said the prefect to AFP Friday.
Gallimard plans to publish in May 2018, under the title "Ecrits polémiques", a volume gathering the antisemitic and racist texts of Céline: Trivia for a Massacre, School of the Dead, Beautiful Clothes.
Lucienne Almanzor, the widow of Louis-Ferdinand Céline, 105 years old, decided, against the expressed will of her husband, died in 1961, to accept the reissue of three pamphlets with strong antisemitic accents, reveals the site of L'incorrigible.
"My role is to alert, warn, warn Gallimard editions and call them to the responsibility for the critical equipment that accompanies this edition," said Mr. Potier.
"We are not in a role of censor, he has tempered, but whistleblower: we want guarantees" even if, he said, "we have confidence in the editions Gallimard, home very serious who knows his job well.
"In a context where the scourge of anti-Semitism must be fought more than ever, the methods of making the public available to these writings must be carefully considered," writes Frédéric Potier.
"The quality of the critical apparatus that accompanies them, and in particular its ability to illuminate the historical and ideological context of their production, as well as the decoding of the author's biases and the factual errors contained therein, are therefore decisive." there.
Pierre Assouline, a Celine specialist, should write the preface to this reissue.
The rights holder would have been convinced to have these pamphlets reissued following "the re-edition of the Debris, the famous pamphlet of Rebatet, in 2015, at Robert Lafont, also framed by an important critical apparatus, [which] did not not unleashed particular waves of protest, "explains The Wrong.
"More material reasons could also play, adds the weekly. At 105, the former dancer Lucette Destouches needs 24-hour medical assistance, which requires paying three full-time people. "
Mr. Potier acknowledged that this was a "rather unusual step" on the part of the government. "But," he added, "it would be wrong to let this kind of thing be published too easily."
Seized by associations fighting against anti-Semitism and individuals, the interministerial delegate sent a letter to Antoine Gallimard, the patron of the eponymous editions.
"In a context where the scourge of anti-Semitism must be fought more than ever, the methods of making the public available to these writings must be carefully considered," wrote Mr. Potier in this letter, quoted by Express and that AFP was able to consult.
"The quality of the critical apparatus that accompanies them, and in particular its ability to shed light on the historical and ideological context of their production, as well as the decoding of the author's biases and the factual errors contained, are therefore decisive", insists he in his mail.
"In order to remove the concerns raised in this regard by the tight schedule announced, I would be very grateful if you would enlighten me on the conditions of preparation of this critical edition and on the measures taken to ensure its scientific and practical nature. multidisciplinarity, "he concluded.
Contacted by AFP, Gallimard had not reacted in the middle of the afternoon.
The three antisemitic texts of Celine, published between 1937 and 1941, have not been reissued since the end of the Second World War. However, we can find them quite easily on the internet without a critical device.