A legal battle is raging over manuscripts written by the antisemitic writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline that disappeared almost eight decades ago.

Dragging two large suitcases packed with yellowed sheets of paper filled with scribbled lines, Jean-Pierre Thibaudat, a former culture writer with a French newspaper, entered the office of Emmanuel Pierrat, a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property, the New York Times reports.

“It’s big,” Mr. Thibaudat had told the lawyer over the phone before showing up at his office last year with his bulging suitcases.

Inside, Mr. Pierrat found a literary treasure trove: long-lost manuscripts by Louis-Ferdinand Céline, the acclaimed but equally reviled French author who wrote classics like “Journey to the End of the Night,” published in 1932, as well as virulently antisemitic tracts.

“This is the greatest literary discovery ever,” Mr. Pierrat marveled in an interview, recounting his excitement as he spread the papers around his office and examined them with Mr. Thibaudat.

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