Céline's Death on the Installment Plan (Translation)

I'm facing the opportunity to buy the 'Death on the Installment Plan' in a garage sale. The book is in phenomenal shape, If you were wondering, and it is translate by Ralph Manheim. I'd like to know how good is his translation on this one; and also what do you think of the book ? Is it as good as 'Journey' ? Or better ? Is the translation too far off from the original version ?

Thank you yet again for your time and answer(s) !


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I can't tell you anything about the English translation, but I read both 'Journey' and the one you mentioned, and both are among the best books I've ever read.


Art should be its own hammer.
Founding member
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It's only been translated twice, and Manheim's is the most recent (1966) and the most widespread.
I know.

The thing is, I was talking to a friend of mine who speaks french, and he told me that he didn't really like the translation in this book. Granted, he said the same thing about 'Journey', and I ended up loving that book (the translated version). I'm also aware that certain things get lost in translation.

Now, even though my dingbat friend is quite unreliable, I still feel a little hesitant, so I came here to get a extra opinion on 'Death on the Installment Plan (English)'.

Have you read it ? What did you think ?


Art should be its own hammer.
Founding member
Over 5000 posts
It's the only translation I've read, and I don't read French that well, so I have nothing to compare it too.

But I liked it just fine.

Black Swan

Abord the Yorikke!
Over 1000 posts
I am french canadian and I have read the Manheim translation of Mort à Crédit. I loved it.
I also read the french version which is the normal to do and found the french slang disrupting. :wb:
One of my favourite books.
I also read Journey to the end.... translated by Manheim. I think that these are excellent translations.
I would not hesitate.
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French to English should be relatively straightforward; colloquialisms aside. I know some French and I've read Manheim translations of Journey and Death and liked both of them.