Oct 2 2009
Stefanie Sobelle: The Oulipo
Cover of Life: A User's Manual.
Raymond Queneau and François Le Lionnais, both writers and math enthusiasts, began collaborating in Paris in 1960. The duo quickly attracted a following, which became the Workshop of Potential Literature (Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, or Oulipo). Inspired by their love for mathematics, the group devised rigid constraints for literary production, including such puzzles as bilingual palindromes, isopangrams (twenty-six-letter-long statements containing all the letters of the alphabet), and N+7 (replacing every noun in a text with the seventh noun down in a dictionary). Queneau once quipped that the group’s devotees were “rats who must build the labyrinth from which they propose to escape.”
The Oulipo’s methods have produced some of the most inventive, comical, and incisive literature of the twentieth and
… full text available to registered users