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 Oulipos 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.