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The Penguin Book of Oulipo: Queneau, Perec, Calvino and the Adventure of Form (Penguin Modern Classics) (English Edition) eBook Kindle
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- ASIN : B07QG4TFS5
- Editora : Penguin (31 outubro 2019)
- Idioma : Inglês
- Tamanho do arquivo : 30761 KB
- Leitura de texto : Habilitado
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- Dicas de vocabulário : Habilitado
- Número de páginas : 551 páginas
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THE BOOK’s front and back covers deserve inspection (4). Most of the book consists of the 500 pages of the anthology entries (5). There are exactly 100 entries, dominated by Raymond Queneau, Georges Perec and Italo Calvino (6). I would have liked a short paragraph before each entry explaining why it is considered Oulipo and what its constraints are. However, this book works well as an anthology implying that it is designed to be browsed rather than read sequentially.
(1) Oulipo, or OuLiPo is short for “Ouvroir de littérature potentielle”. This roughly translates as "Workshop of potential literature". It was formed in 1960 in Paris by Raymond Queneau and François Le Lionnais (e) and is best thought of as writing that is constrained by arbitrary rules.
(2) Oulipo was originally a Francophone undertaking and many of the examples would have been in French. Some Oulipo constraints only make sense in their original language.
(3) The “Anticipatory Plagiarism” entries (a) are quite diverse and I have difficulty understanding what constraints some of these represent. They are not even referenced in the Index of Constraints, although they may have an entry in the Notes at the end of the book.
(4) The front cover is simply the book’s title “The Penguin Book of Oulipo” and its sub-title “Queneau, Perec, Calvino and the Adventure of Form”. The back cover looks exactly the same, but is altered to “The Penny Borough of Ourselves” and “Queneau, Perec, Calvino and the Afternoon of Forum”. There is a transformation here, but I cannot define it. The texts are not anagrams. A favourite Oulipo transformation is W+N, (word + number) where a word is changed by moving a number of places in a dictionary. Another transformation is N+N (noun and number).
(5) Nine pages are required for The Contents to list all the 100 entries. Then there is the Introduction (21 pages) (b) followed by the entries, large and small, covering 508 pages. They are followed by Notes (6 pages) (c) and the Index of Constraints (6 pages) (d).
(6) Raymond Queneau (7 entries), Georges Perec (11 entries) and Italo Calvino (5 entries), giving 23 entries or 23% of the total.
(a) The “Anticipatory Plagiarism” entries are: Jonathan Swift from Gulliver’s Travels; Henry Vassall-Fox Eve’s Legend; Joe Brainard from I Remember; Stefan Themerson from Bayamus; Lewis Carroll from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; Jorge Luis Borges The Garden of Forking Paths ; François Rabelais from Gargantua and Pentagruel; Robert Desnos from Rrose Sélavy (iv); Lucretius from the Poem on Nature (De Rerum Natura); Alfred Jarry from Exploits and Opinions; Bible from the Psalms; Christopher Smart from Jubilate Agno;Yin Zhonkan Reversible Inscription; George Herbert Easter Wings; Raymond Russel from How I wrote some of my books.
(b) The Introduction is structured into titled sections that act as a glossary of Oulipo. These titles are in alphabetical order, so words or phrases concerning Oulipo may be introduced in one section before being defined in a later one.
The sections are: Anticipatory Plagiarism; Bourbaki; Constraint; Dossier 17 of the College of ‘Pataphysics; Elementary Morality; Foulipo; Geroges Perec; Heteromorphism; Italo Calvino; Jeux de Mots; Kick-Starts; Lucretius; Mathematics; New York School; Noulipo; Ou-x-pos (i); Potentielle; Queneau Numbers; Research; Selection; Translation; Untranslatability; Variations; Winter Journeys; X takes Y for Z.
Two sections are just references to other sections: Queneau Numbers (see under Mathematics) and Foulipo (see under Noulipo). Section Selection (ii) acts as a short bibliographic essay on Oulipo.
(c) The Notes at the back of the book give some explanations. Each Note corresponds with entry number. Unfortunately there are notes for only for 26 entries (iii).
(d) The Index of Constraints lists constraints in alphabetical order followed by the entry numbers that use them. Some have a short definition of the constraint; others have no definition at all. The first constraint is “Acrostic”, with no definition and two entries. The last constraint is “Zenotranslation”, defined as “Each of a series of translations is half as long as its source”. This has one entry. The lipogram constraint has five entries and is defined as “Text written without the use of one or more letters (see also Beau présent and Monovocalism)”. Beau présent has one entry and the definition “Literally ‘beautiful present’, the form is a variation of the lipogram often used for epithalamia or dedicatory poems, and uses only the letters in the name(s) of the dedicatee(s).” The monovocalism constraint has two entries and is defined as “Text using only one vowel, consequently a lipogram in all other vowels.” (v).
(e) Although he was one of the founders of Oulipo, François Le Lionnais has only two entries in this anthology; Raymond Queneau has seven entries (vi).
(i) Ou-x-pos indicates an Oulipo extension. There are examples in the anthology for: ou-cui-po (cuisine) (α)
, ou-pein-po (painting) (β), ou-lipo-po (romans policiers or crime fiction), ou-mu-po (music) and ou-trans-po (translation) (γ), ou-ba-po (bande dessinée or comics), ou-ve-po (video).
(ii) The bibliography concerns both French and English texts. The English ones include Oulipo A Primer of Potential Literature , The Oulip Compendium and State of Constraint New Work By Oulipo .
(iii) The Notes can sometimes be helpful on constraints and transformations used. The Note for article 90 explains that it uses Rogetification, where a source text is transformed using a thesaurus. Looking at the article’s title and format allows you to guess that it is a transformation of the Book of Genesis. The author is Tom Jenks and the title “From the Tome of Commencement”. It begins “1.1: In the freshman year Loki created the Happy Valley and the asteroid.” The Note for entry 77 explains its sparseness. The author is M. NourSe Phillips, the title is “Zong” and the author is Noulipo (North American Oulipo). It begins: “Zong ! #6 question therefore . . . the age . . . eighteen weeks . . . and calm . . .” It uses a constricted vocabulary (constraint of lexicon) taken from the legal case Gregson vs Gilbert. This was about the murder by drowning of over 150 Africans on the slave ship Zong. Other constraints include whitening out words, fragmentation and reversal. The Note for article 25 explains that the words “point”, “line” and “plane” in David Hilbert’s “Foundation of Mathematics” are replaced with “word”, “sentence” and “paragraph”. The result reads impressively but makes no sense. The author is Raymond Queneau and the title is “The Foundation of literature”. It begins: “I, 1 – A sentence exists containing two given words. COMMENT: Obvious. Example: given the two words ’a’ and ‘b’, there exists a sentence containing these two words – ‘A violinist gives the vocalist her a.’ The Note for article 14 concerns Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” where Isaac Watt’s poem “Against Idleness and Mischief” is parodied.
Carroll: How does the little crocodile / Improve his shining tail, / And pour the waters of the Nile / on every golden scale! / How cheerfully he seems to grin,/ How neatly spreads his claws, / And welcomes little fishes in, / With gently smiling jaws!
Watt: How doth the little busy bee / Improve each shining hour, / And gather honey all the day / From every opening flower! / How skilfully she builds her cell! / How neat she spreads the wax! / And labours hard to store it well / With the sweet food she makes.
(iv) Rrose Sélavy was Marcel Duchamp’s alter ego, a pun on the French adage “Eros, c'est la vie”.
(v) The first acrostic is from “The Psalms”. The first line of Psalm 17 begins “Praise him that ay”. The five lines of the first verse begin with the letters P, R, A, I, S. Several lipograms are contained in entry 1 “35 Variations on a Theme from Shakespeare”. These are
“03 Lipogram in c,d,f,g,j,k,l,m,p,v,w,x,y,z
To be or not to be: that is the question
04 Lipogram in a
To be or not to be: this is the question
05 Lipogram in i
To be or not to be: that’s the problem
06 Lipogram in e
Almost nothing, or nothing: but which?”
Monovocalism is represented by entry 23, an extract from Christian Bõk’s Eunoia . This is taken from his Chapter E which contains only the vowel e. It begins: “Enfettered, these sentences repress free speech. The text deletes selected letters. We see the revered exegete reject metered verse . . . “
(vi) The entries for François Le Lionnais are entry 5 “Lipo: First Manifesto” and entry 42 “Second Manifesto”. You will not find these entries listed in the Index of Constraints. These are definitional unconstrained entries about constrained writing. In the three page first manifesto Le Lionnais reminds us that literary work often has inherent constraints “Constraints of vocabulary and grammar, constraints of the novel (division into chapters, etc.) . . . “. In the four page second manifesto he notes that most of the Oulipo works produced were constrained by forms (structure) and not by semantics (meaning). He saw constraints by semantics as something to be explored. Although his entry is a translation into English, one sentence remains in French. Le Lionnais remarks that he is fond of the poems of John Keats. One day Le Lionnais stopped in front of a monkey cage in the Jardin des Plantes, where he exclaimed “Un singe de beauté est un jouet pour l’hiver!” which translates as ‘A beautiful monkey is a toy for winter!’, but is also a bilingual homophone translation of the first line of Keat’s Enymion ‘A thing of beauty is a joy for ever’.
(α) An oucuipo entry is Georges Perec’s 81 Easy-Cook recipes for Beginners. This is entry 16. It is in the Index of Constraints under Combinatorics, which is not defined. The 81 recipes are all four lines long. They occur in groups of three, repeated 27 times. The first sentence of each recipe in the groups is the same. The text that follows varies. The repeated texts are:
“Take two fine whole fresh sole . . .”
“Smear a pair of small rabbits . . . “
“Take four sweetbreads . . . “
(β) An oupeinpo entry is Philippe Mouchès’s The Reapers + Seven Seconds, where a reproduction of Millet’s painting The Gleaners is followed by the same painting imagined seven seconds later. The original depicts three peasant women gleaning a field of stray stalks of wheat after the harvest. Seven seconds later one of the women is pictured jumping over the others.
(γ) An outranspo entry is number 72 “Exercises in Translation” by Philip Terry (the editor of this anthology) based on an original text by Queneau, Exercises in Style . It consists of a two paragraphs of a story written in seven different styles. Entry 72 appears in the Index of Constraints under Countertranslation, defined as “translation written against another of the same text” and under Ekphrasotranslation, defined as “Replaces word or expression by description.” and under Homosemantic Translation, defined as “A translation which remains semantically close to its source text, but which otherwise departs from it freely.” and under Multitranslation, defined as “Offers multiple translations of the same word.” and under Quasitranslation, defined as “Deliberately impartial and incomplete translation.” and under Scholiotranslation, defined as “A translation that describes that which happens in the original text.” and under Visual constraint, with no definition, and under Zenotranslation, defined as “Each of a series of translations is half as long as its source.”. The Multitranslation begins “In the S bus/charabang, in the rush hour/busiest time of the day. A chap/bloke/young man of about 26 . . . “. The Quasitranslation begins “It was on a bus. There were people on the bus . . . “. The Zenotranslations begin
“In the S bus, in the rush hour. A bloke about 26 . . .”
“In the S bus, rush hour. A bloke about 26 . . .”
“In the S bus. A bloke . . .”
“In the S. A bloke . . .”
Scholiotranslation begins “Queneau opens his inaugural text by setting the scene, which take place on the S bus, in the rush hour . . . “.
Entry 6 contains extracts from Queneau’s Exercises in Style translated by Philip Terry. This is a foundational Oulipo text in which various transformation of style are applied to two paragraphs. Each transformation has a title. The original text is titled Notations and begins: “In the S bus, in the rush hour. A bloke about 26, felt hat with a cord instead of a ribbon, neck too long as if someone had been tugging at it.” This text is transformed under the titles: Anagrams, Olfactory, Tactile, Visual, Set Theory, Definitional, Tanka (a Japanese poem of five lines, consisting of a haiku and a heptasyllabic distich), Translation, Lipogram, antonymic, Homophonic and Geometric. Set Theory begins “In the S bus, consider set S, the seated passengers, and set S’ the standing passengers . . . “. Definitional begins “In a large motor-driven urban passenger vehicle designated by the nineteenth letter of the alphabet, a young eccentric . . . “. Lipogram begins “On an S bus, rush hour. A guy about 26, soft hat with a cord round it, scruff too long, as if caught in a tug-of-war . . . “.