French author Louis-Ferdinand Destouches, the author of Journey to the End of the Night, used Céline, a French female first name as his pen name. Any idea where he got it from?

  • Are you looking for something other than the readily discovered fact that it was one of his mother’s names?
    – Spagirl
    Apr 1, 2020 at 18:26
  • @Spagirl I didn't know that Marguerite Destouches, née Guillou, Céline's mother, had "Céline" as one of her names. I knew that her mother was called Céline (Guillou, née Lesjean). I guess I'm looking for a piece of evidence (letter, interview etc. by Céline himself or someone else accounting for the origin of his pen name. Any research on the internet is made, I find, difficult by the parasitic interferences we get from Céline Dion and have to sort through. I'd appreciate a reference for your find about his mother.
    – grandtout
    Apr 1, 2020 at 19:08

1 Answer 1


According to the entry LOUIS-FERDINAND CÉLINE, De Destouches à Céline in the online Encyclopædia Universalis,

c'est à sa grand-mère maternelle, Céline Guillou, qu'il empruntera son nom de plume

Literal translation: "it is from his maternal grandmother, Céline Guillou, that he will borrow his pen name".

In the French Wikipedia article about the author, the first footnote points out that "Céline"

(...) est le prénom de sa grand-mère et l'un des prénoms de sa mère. cf.Pol Vandromme, Céline, Pardès, 2001, p. 114

In other words, it is the first name of his grandmother and one of his mother's names.

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