Céline’s notoriety, which began with the literary scandal of his first novel, Journey To The End Of The Night, took a more concrete turn after World War II. Having published three virulent anti-Semitic pamphlets between 1937 and 1941, he spent 13 months in prison in Denmark after the war, an experience chronicled in Fable For Another Time, the conceptual, if not chronological prequel to Normance.

Legal troubles provided Céline with roughage for his writing, integrated into a boisterous rhapsody of persecution and human spite. Certain passages even hint that prison helped hone his literary capacities, but despite such flippancy, and Céline’s apparent disdain for his lawyer’s efforts, the danger of post-war reprisals, legitimate or otherwise, was real. It is fortunate that, in 1951, Céline’s legal defense was successful in adducing his service to France in World War I to obtain amnesty. Six of his works were published in the decade before his death in 1961.