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Oulipo Laboratory [Paperback]

Raymond Queneau , Harry Mathews , Harry Matthews
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1996 0947757899 978-0947757892
The Oulipo was founded in 1960 by a group of leading French writers and mathematicians, it still meets regularly some thirty five years later, making it one of the longest lived and productive literary groupings ever.

The Oulipo’s original aim was to inquire into the possibilities of combining literature and mathematics, but this field of study was soon expanded to include all writing using self-imposed restrictive systems. Remarkable Oulipian works have been written by Queneau, Calvino, Perec, Roubaud, Mathews (to mention only those familiar to English-speaking readers).

The group publishes a series of small booklets for circulation among its friends. This anthology reproduces six of them in English facsimile, from among the earliest (no. 3, 1976) to the most recent (no. 70, 1995); it provides the English reader with a taste at least of one of the most sustained and intriguing literary investigations of recent years.


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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Reformatting The Muse Nov. 18 2000
Format:Paperback
Founded in late 1960 in France, at a colloquium on the work of Raymond Queneau, in order to research new writing by combining mathematics and literature (and also to just horse around) the Oulipo (The Ouvrior de LittÈrature Potentielle or Oulipo (The Workshop of Potential Literature)) expanded to include all writing using self-imposed restrictive systems.
Potential Literature, to me, seems an extension of Surrealism, which used the methods of literary production to critique modernism's obsession with the literary artifact; instead of the myth of the artist alone in some garret painstakingly crafting a Work of Art, literature is automatically generated by timed writing, or mechanically generated by multiple authors with games like the Exquisite Corpse or pieced together in a collage of found text. The Oulipo extends this the critique of modernism by exploring ways that literature can be produced as a result of mathematical formulas, or by building complex rules that limit writer's potential choices, or by the construction of new literary forms.
This book serves as a short introduction to the methods of potential literature several reprints from the groups pamphlet series, including François Le Lionnais's Manifestos and Italo Calvino's essay "How I Wrote One of My Books," which served as the blue print for If On a Winter's Nigh a Traveler.
Oulipo is a body of generative ideas rather than a critical or analytical method. It does away with philosophical underpinning in favor of just generating writing. Raymond Queneau regretted that writer's didn't use tools like other craftsmen. With word-processors, they do and this text supplies a range of techniques for extending mechanical writing beyond spell check. The muse has had her hard drive reformatted.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Hilarious Jan. 13 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is a riot! I highly recommend it. All of the texts are funny but Fornel's Suburbia is the funniest produced yet by the Oulipians. In addition, this book is a good introduction to the aesthetics of Oulipo, a group of writers who are underappreciated by the American audience.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reformatting The Muse Nov. 18 2000
By Matt Briggs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Founded in late 1960 in France, at a colloquium on the work of Raymond Queneau, in order to research new writing by combining mathematics and literature (and also to just horse around) the Oulipo (The Ouvrior de LittÈrature Potentielle or Oulipo (The Workshop of Potential Literature)) expanded to include all writing using self-imposed restrictive systems.
Potential Literature, to me, seems an extension of Surrealism, which used the methods of literary production to critique modernism's obsession with the literary artifact; instead of the myth of the artist alone in some garret painstakingly crafting a Work of Art, literature is automatically generated by timed writing, or mechanically generated by multiple authors with games like the Exquisite Corpse or pieced together in a collage of found text. The Oulipo extends this the critique of modernism by exploring ways that literature can be produced as a result of mathematical formulas, or by building complex rules that limit writer's potential choices, or by the construction of new literary forms.
This book serves as a short introduction to the methods of potential literature several reprints from the groups pamphlet series, including François Le Lionnais's Manifestos and Italo Calvino's essay "How I Wrote One of My Books," which served as the blue print for If On a Winter's Nigh a Traveler.
Oulipo is a body of generative ideas rather than a critical or analytical method. It does away with philosophical underpinning in favor of just generating writing. Raymond Queneau regretted that writer's didn't use tools like other craftsmen. With word-processors, they do and this text supplies a range of techniques for extending mechanical writing beyond spell check. The muse has had her hard drive reformatted.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Hilarious Jan. 13 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is a riot! I highly recommend it. All of the texts are funny but Fornel's Suburbia is the funniest produced yet by the Oulipians. In addition, this book is a good introduction to the aesthetics of Oulipo, a group of writers who are underappreciated by the American audience.
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