Savy, the biologist, said something appropriate: In the beginning there was emotion, and the verb wasn’t there at all. When you tickle an amoeba she withdraws, she has emotion, she doesn’t speak but she does have emotion. A baby cries, a horse gallops. Only us, they’ve given us the verb. That gives you the politician, the writer, the prophet. The verb’s horrible. You can’t smell it. But to get to the point where you can translate this emotion, that’s a difficulty no one imagines . . . It’s ugly . . . It’s superhuman . . . It’s a trick that’ll kill a guy.

– Louis-Ferdinand Celine (from this interview)


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