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French National Library has bid $1.7 million for Louis-Ferdinand Celine's handwritten manuscript of "Voyage au Bout de la Nuit"



PARIS The French National Library has bid $1.7 million for Louis-Ferdinand Celine's
handwritten manuscript of "Voyage au Bout de la Nuit" (Journey to the End of the Night).

The library ended a fierce bidding war at the Drouot-Montaigne auction house for the
manuscript - which disappeared for nearly 60 years before a private collector discovered it
last year - by exercising its right under French law to match the top offer of a private bidder.
The price was a record for a manuscript sold at auction. The library has 15 days to make a
final decision on purchasing the 876-page text, which sold for more than double its
estimated worth of $685,000. If the library backs out, the manuscript goes to the highest
bidder, a Parisian collector. The final selling price, which includes taxes and commissions,
topped last year's $1.5 million at Christie's in New York for the longest chapter from James
Joyce's "Ulysses." Celine sold the manuscript in 1943 to a Paris art dealer in return for
10,000 francs and a small Renoir painting.



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