|Original title||Voyage au bout de la nuit|
|Translator||John H. P. Marks (1934), Ralph Manheim (1988)|
"Journey to the End of the Night" is an autobiographical novel. It tells the story of Bardamyu and his doppelganger Robenson in a grotesque journey through life, through the world and through death. Bardamyu survives the First World War, wanders through the jungles of colonial Africa, lives in the unnatural world of Industrial America, heals the poor in a Parisian suburb, all the while constantly encoutering Robenson.
The novel is included among the 100 greatest books of all time, set by 100 writers from 54 countries.
Céline's first novel is remarkable for its style, making extensive use of ellipsis and hyperbole. His writing has the flow of natural speech patterns and uses the vernacular, while also employing more erudite elements. This has influenced French literature considerably. The novel enjoyed popular success and a fair amount of critical acclaim when it was published in October 1932. Albert Thibaudet, perhaps the greatest of the entre deux guerres critics, said in January 1933 that it was still a common topic of conversation at dinner parties in Paris.
Paolo Sorrentino's 2013 film The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza) opens with a quote from Journey to the End of the Night. The film concludes with a visual of the last paragraph of the book, passing under bridges, arches, and locks along the city's river.
In Jean-Luc Godard's 1965 dystopian science fiction film Alphaville, protagonist Lemmy Caution dismisses a taxi driver's offer of route options to his destination by stating that he is on "a journey to the end of the night". The film depicts the use of poetry as a weapon against a sentient computer system.
Charles Bukowski makes reference to Journey in a number of his novels and short stories, and employs prose techniques borrowed from Céline. Bukowski wrote in Notes of a Dirty Old Man that "Céline was the greatest writer of 2000 years".