Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Vassili Grossman

Modern Batch of Banned Manuscripts (April 20, 2009)

 

            Censuring of books was not the sole domain of the Vatican or other religious sacerdotal castes; the State governments, special associations “for preserving morals”, and other politically oriented organizations shared in restricting freedom of opinions.  Private court cases are preponderant at this age for extorting royalty fees or any other excuses such as safeguarding privacy.

 

            Gustave Flaubert published “Madame Bovary” in 1856 and the novel was deemed the worst scandal in that half of century. The French government realized that the novel represented the end of romanticism and the advent of reality of life in the provinces. Emma was no longer satisfied with her quaint life and wanted to experiment with her passions. The French State prosecutor banned “Madame Bovary”, “Les Fleurs du Mal” by Baudelaire, and “Mysteres du People” by Eugene Sue.  In 2007, a poll survey of the Anglo-Americans showed that “Madame Bovary” came second after “Anna Karenina” by Tolstoy.

            In 1863, the theologian Ernest Renan published “Life of Jesus”; it reconstructed the life of Jesus devoid of divine nature. It was an instant scandal and the manuscript was re-published 24 times before the end of 1864.  Renan was excommunicated after his death!

James Joyce published in 1918 “Ulysses”; it was an epic poem that recounts the peregrination of an Irish man, Leopold Bloom, in Dublin between 8 a.m. and 3 a.m.  One episode “Nausicaa” brought hell fire of censure from every corner.  Leopold courted a girl swimming nude during fire work and their orgasm coincided with the explosion of the “bouquet” of the fire work. The book “Ulysses” was persecuted by successive court orders for over ten years.

“Lady Chatterley’s Lover” by David H. Lawrence was published in 1928.  It disturbed the social order of class structure because an aristocratic lady deigned to become in love of her employee.  Even thirty-two years later, Britain would prosecute an Italian version.

“Tropics of Cancer” by Henry Miller was published in 1934 in Paris. It is about the personal sexual adventures of the author in minute details. For over 30 years no US publishers would dare touch this manuscript for “obscenity”. Miller’s “Sexus” was even banned in France between the years 1950 to 1964.

Louis-Ferdinand Celine published “Bagatelles pour un massacre”in 1937.  It was labeled hostile to Jews.  It enjoyed many editions during Nazi occupation of France but was never re-edited after 1945 on the ground that his widowed, Lucette Destouches, the sole owner of rights, wanted to respect the author’s wishes!  Celine had published the famous “Voyage au bout de la nuit”.

Nikos Kazantzakis published in Athens “The Last Temptation of Christ” in 1954. It relates a dream that Christ had while crucified of how it would have been his life among his wife and children. Christ would wake up from the dream and then He shouted “Everything is accomplished”.  It was 34 years later when projected as a movie by Martin Scorsese that all hell broke loose; movie theaters were attacked and burned; 14 of movie watchers were injured.

Christian Bourgois was declined by 13 editors before his first novel “L’Epi Monstre” is published in 1961; Christian has 21 years of age and that wrote the manuscript in 10 days. Christian was a nurse with the French army during the Algerian Revolution.  The story is about a communist widower who had incestuous relations with his two girls; one commits suicide and the other is killed by her father. The ban will be lifted in 2002.  Bougois published “Jeanne la Pudeur” and was also banned

Vassili Grossman (1905-1964) wrote “Life and Destiny”; he was a reporter for the Bolshevik daily “The Red Star” during the Second World War and witnessed the horrors of the war and detention centers. Vassili took precautions to leaving two microfilms of his manuscript with Andrei Sakharov and Vladimir Dimitrijevic.  The KGB had confiscated the manuscript, the carbon copy, and the typewriter ribbons.  “Life and Destiny” was published in 1980; it is in the genre of “War and Peace” of 800 pages that uncovers the resemblance of totalitarianism, the rejection of to all kinds of submissions, and the communication with “little people”.  It demonstrates the tyranny of the “Good” and how it can become an epidemic worst than “Evil”

“The Archipelago of Gulag” by Alexander Soljenitsyne was published in 1973 in Paris; it is a vast essay of literary investigation into concentration camps and testimonies of 227 detainees (zeks).  Soljenitsyne was expulsed from the Soviet Union and he wrote the next two volumes in the USA; he received the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1970 and then was received with full honor in Russia in 1994.  The manuscript was published in Russia in 1989.

During Nazi Germany occupation of France 714,000 books were burned in Paris.  The list of banned manuscripts started with 1060 and it kept climbing as Germany invaded Russia and then the US entered war.

Vladimir Nabokov published “Lolita” in 1955 in Paris for fear of being banned in the USA.  The manuscript had to wait until 1958 to be allowed to circulate in libraries. The story did not contain any pornographic descriptions and was recounted in Oxfordian exactitude about the love of a professor to his adoptive child after murdering her mother.

Before the latest wave of outcries for child molesting Tony Duvert published “Paysage de Fantaisie” in 1973 about his experience and inclinations for young boys and received the Medicis Prize for it.  Olivier Petre-Grenouilleau published “Traites Negrieres” where he claims that the Moslem’s Slave trades in Africa far outnumbered the European trade; he did the unpardonable commentary when he discriminated the suffering of the Jews during Nazi Germany and the suffering of the slaves.  In 2008, Sylvain Gouguenheim published “Aristote au mont Saint-Michel” where his researched led him to clarify that Aristotle’s philosophy was accepted in Europe as the Arab translated it; 56 philosophers and historians signed a petition proclaiming that the manuscript is not scientific.

“They Tortured me till Dawn” April 18, 2009

 

The French Midnight Editions published in 1958 “The Question” by Henri Alleg. The real name is Harry Salem

Henri was the director of the daily “The Republican Algeria” and he was a militant communist. When the French government in 1955 gave the French army in Algeria wide authorities to squelch the Algerian revolution for independence then the daily “L’Algier Republicain” was shut down. 

Henri went into hiding but was captured in 1957 along with Maurice Audin, an assistant in mathematics at the Algeria University.  Maurice died during interrogation and succumbed to torture. Henri managed to survive and a copy of his manuscript was whisked to Paris. 

The French government banned the book for hurting army morale, incitement to disobedience and defamation of the police force.  Laurent Heynemann made a movie of “The question” in 1977.

 

“A young parachutist covered me with a blanket saying: “Why do you refuse to betray your friends? You must be very courageous to resist that long to torture” He offered me water but I barely felt like drinking.  It was Friday evening and they had started torturing me on Wednesday.  In the corridor I could hear orders being shouted and then terrible cries of a woman in pains were heard in the cell across of mine. 

They tortured till dawn and I could hear howling, beatings, and curses.  I realized that this was not an exceptional night; it was a routine night and the parachutists were getting used to their daily tasks.  I cried my eye out for hate and humiliation as I heard for the first time the howling and pains of the agonizing detainees.

            I was half conscious and slept only in the morning and was wakened up in the evening.  I was offered a bowl of hot soup; my first meal in three days. I had difficulty eating because my tongue, palate, and lips were hurting from the electrical wires they inserted in my mouth to torture me. Many places in my body were burned and they were infected.  My right arm and shoulder seemed paralyzed.

            A nurse checked my pulse and declared to the physician “He is fine, just a little nervous. We can go ahead” They were experimenting with a “truth serum” injected in my vein drop by drop. That was the scientific method that I overheard during the torture sessions. I remembered from what read on the subject that if we had strong will then they would fail in their attempt and I tried to calm my nerves.  I inserted my useless left arm in the pocket of my trousers and pressed on my thigh to refresh my spirit that this was not a dream. The physician ordered me: “Count slowly. Go

 

            The Russian author Vassili Grossman (1905-1964) wrote “Life and Destiny“. He was a reporter for the Bolshevik daily “The Red Star” during the Second World War and witnessed the horrors of the war and detention centers. Vassili took precautions to leaving two microfilms of his manuscript with Andrei Sakharov and Vladimir Dimitrijevic. 

The KGB had confiscated the manuscript, the carbon copy, and the typewriter ribbons.  “Life and Destiny” was published in 1980; it is in the genre of “War and Peace” of 800 pages that uncovers the resemblance of totalitarianism, the rejection of to all kinds of submissions, and the communication with “little people”.  It demonstrates the tyranny of the “Good” and how it can become an epidemic worst than “Evil”

 

Karl Jasper wrote in his book “The German Culpability“: 

“The one who remained passive knows that he is morally guilty every time he failed to respond to an action for protecting the threatened citizens, for reducing injustice, and for resisting infamy”

 

Note: Midnight Editions (Editions de Minuit) also published “For Djamila Bouhired” by Georges Arnauld and Jacques Verges.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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