Oulipo: A Primer of Potential Literature by Warren F Motte Jr.

By Warren F Motte Jr.

A extraordinary number of writings via contributors of the crowd referred to as the Oulipo (Ouvroir de litterature potentiale), this anthology contains, between others, Italo Calvino, Harry Mathews, Georges Perec, Jacques Roubaud, and Raymond Queneau. based in Paris in 1960, the Oulipo perspectives imaginitive writing as an workout ruled by means of the strategy of "constraints." whereas an important contribution to literary concept, and in addition nice enjoyable, Oulipo: A Primer of strength Literature may be such a lot wonderful as an essential consultant to writers.

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Teeln'lhe b~p~st value in literature to be sincerity, e1'l)Qt~on. ietti¥Jl. or ;)l~thenticity mistrust it as a strange and dangerous whim, '1' " :, ", Why bridle one's imagi~ation. why browbeat one's liberty tbrouSh the voluntary impOsition of constraints, or by placing obstacles in one's own path? Even the' most kindly disposed critics pretend to see in tke use of constraint nothing more than a game. rarely innocent but fundamentally vain .. The only merit that they might accord to it is that it provides, for a few linguistic acrobats, for a few verbal jugglers.

Queneau's commen­ tary Seems here to mask something: ", .. this is not essential. We regret I- t having no access to machines," I would take it in a slightly different man­ :e creation (in 1960) ner, and machines would be irrelevant. lY ~SCri= .... s. it, systematic, ~d coDe . e. Queneau's role in the form. '. andactivities status implied by propositions 9 and 10 (and Queneau's own positions, of the group is know We will limit ourselves hereto. 64. 27 Let the contrary, essential. The claim to craftsmanship reflects an affirmation us remember that Oulipo" is an acronym for "ouvroir de IitteT4ture po­ of amateurism; it is a voluntary archaism (and perhaps, here again.

Q.. , , ingrups ofgrappa into porringers of out-of-season fruit. 1,\' DiS opinion ,assign· a Gottingen Fig~ro. • In Ostia, engaging Ethiopian waiters trigger big tips by squirt­ I';. : thinkers, Zenia insists on the inferiority of Fourier's "inanities," nineteen, is infuriating Swiss Inge, a serious thirty, by persisting in ing-hot grits & grunts. ' singing in 1 Puritani, of Kipnis in Boris, of Kili·Te: Kanawa's Rosina in , 173 ~ -Business-wise Erika O'Higgins is sitting inPitt:sb~ squinting she is authorizing ip Bisk (Siberia).

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