Nov 19, 2005

exercises in style...... Posted by Picasa Exercises in Style (Paperback), A twentysomething bus rider with a long, skinny neck and a goofy hat accuses another passenger of trampling his feet; he then grabs an empty seat. Later, in a park, a friend encourages the same man to reorganize the buttons on his overcoat. In Raymond Queneau's Exercises in Style, this determinedly pointless scenario unfolds 99 times in twice as many pages. Originally published in 1947 (in French), these terse variations on a theme are a wry lesson in creativity. The story is told as an official letter, as a blurb for a novel, as a sonnet, and in "Opera English." It's told onomatopoetically, philosophically, telegraphically, and mathematically. The result, as translator Barbara Wright writes in her introduction, is "a profound exploration into the possibilities of language." I'd say it's a refresher course of sorts, but it's more like a graduate seminar. After all, how many of us are familiar with terms such as litote, alexandrine, apheresis, and epenthesis in the first place?-----matt madden's exercises in style, different ways to tell the same thing--- queneau at spineless books-----same story, different way----aphairesis: literally, taking off, from aphairein to take away, from apo- + hairein to take: the loss of one or more sounds or letters at the beginning of a word (as in round for around and coon for raccoon)----Raymond Queneau's mind could have been described as a room with a fireplace, where a group of Club Stories characters gathered together and talked endlessly among themselves -- a mathematician, a humorist, a scholar, a linguist, a poet, a detective.


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