Staff – University of Copenhagen

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Troels Hughes Hansen

Troels Hughes Hansen

Part-time lecturer

Current research

The Testimonial Functions in the Later Novels of Louis-Ferdinand Céline

My PhD project seeks to establish and explore a new approach to the later novels of the acclaimed and notorious French writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline.

The project endeavours to propose that his last five or six novels can be interpreted within the theoretical and aesthetic framework of a genre that would normally be regarded as the exact opposite of the Célinian text: that is the genre of witness literature.

Céline is widely recognized as one of the two greatest novelists of 20th century French literature (the other being Proust), but he is not an unproblematic figure. In the 1930’s he published three lengthy pamphlets characterized by a virulent and hateful anti-Semitism. Besides being a brilliant writer, he is thus also a part of the discourse that helped justify the genocides of the Second World War on an intellectual level.

Reading Céline within this frame of witness literature (normally associated with the victims of Nazi crimes) is of course highly controversial. The project suggests, however, that on a formal, stylistic level, new insights into the function of Célines famous literary style can be gained through such a reading.

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