Semmelweis

Céline, Louis-Ferdinand

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“Ignaz Semmelweis (1818-1865), now regarded as the father of antisepsis, was the first to diagnose correctly the cause of the staggering mortality rates in the maternity hospital in Vienna; his colleagues, however, rejected both his reasoning and his methods, thereby causing many thousands of unnecessary deaths in maternity wards across Europe. This episode, one of the most infamous in the history of medicine, along with its disastrous effects on Semmelweis himself, is the subject of Céline’s semi-fictional evocation, one in which his violent descriptive genius is already apparent. It is the passionate account of a man persecuted for the simple fact of revealing the truth. The overriding theme of Céline’s later works finds its first expression in this book - a caustic despair, verging on disgust, for humanity as a whole - but it is here tempered by a surprising humanity”, translated by John Harman, with an introduction by Philippe Sollers, text in English, soft cover, 110 pages, 15 x 17 cm, Eclectics & Heteroclites 9, London 2008