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Tyyliharjoituksia by Raymond Queneau
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Tyyliharjoituksia (original 1947; edition 1991)

by Raymond Queneau, Pentti Salmenranta

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,703394,183 (3.95)95
Member:Ritax
Title:Tyyliharjoituksia
Authors:Raymond Queneau
Other authors:Pentti Salmenranta
Info:Helsingissä : Otava, 1991.(nid.)
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:yhteiskunnalliset ilmiöt:kaunokirjallisuus, sanataide, kokeellinen kirjallisuus

Work details

Exercises in Style by Raymond Queneau (1947)

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» See also 95 mentions

English (28)  French (5)  Dutch (2)  Italian (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  All (39)
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)

One very effective way I have found to squeeze the juice of wisdom from the books I read is to write a review, which forces me to formulate my ideas and opinions in precise and clear (at least that is my intent) language. However, with Raymond Queneau's Exercises in Style, we have a book that contains not only wisdom but many flavors of linguistic magic. Thus, I need to do more than simply write a review. I found the solution: I read Barbara Wright's translation aloud, recording my voice on a digital recorder, and then listen whilst taking my walks.

Each of the 99 variations of this short tale of a young man with his long neck and felt hat is worth reading and listening to multiple times; matter of fact, it would be an aesthetic injustice to read through this novel once or twice and put it down, thinking you finished the book and did the author justice. No, no, no - that would be anti-Queneau!

Should I attempt to be linguistically clever, verbally crafty, syntactically cunning, offering astute wordplay, adroit repartee or ingenious punning? I should not and I will not. I will simply say how Queneau's novel is a one-of-a-kind adventure into language and the ways language can be used to tell a story. And, oh, lest I forget - the chapter heading are complete with fanciful, cartoonish illustrations of humans posing as the beginning letters of words, making the entire work that much more charming and piquant. Thank you Stefan Themerson for your artwork and thank you New Directions for your publishing creativity.

Barbara Wright does the English translation. And what a translation! A work of art in its own right (no pun intended). Barbara Wright's first career was that of a pianist and she found translating and playing piano have a great deal in common. She noted how both require an ability to, as she says in her own words, "present artistic works to an audience in a manner acceptable and satisfying to the composer or writer and honest in their interpretation."

As by way of example, here is the first line of the chapter entitled `Parechesis'. We read, "On the butt-end of a bulging bus which was transbustling an abundance of incubuses and Buchmanites from bumbledom towards their bungalows, a bumptious buckeen whose buttocks were remote from his bust and who was buttired in a boody ridiculous busby, buddenly had a bust-up with a robust buckra who was bumping into him: "Buccaneer, buzz off, you're butting my bunions!" Now such a beautiful boutique of buzzes baffles the brain . . . - well, you get the idea; I will stop there so as not to get carried away and bore.

Now that I put the finishing touches on my review, I bid you ado as I am off to the park, digital recorder in hand, poised to listen to Exercises In Style, and by so listening to float up into an ocean of linguistic light and aesthetic bliss. Tally-ho with Raymond Queneau. ( )
  GlennRussell | Feb 16, 2017 |
Playful and fun repeated presentation of the same scene, some of the odder styles didn't really click for me but an impressive and enjoyable read. ( )
  kale.dyer | Dec 30, 2016 |
Literatura Francesa, Relato, Cuento Corto,
  raulvilar | Jul 26, 2016 |
Queneau sets for himself the challenge of writing the same story, and it is a very slight story indeed, using several different styles and techniques. This edition also includes the efforts of current writers who have taken up the challenge. The story is something like this, a rather pathetic and petulant specimen of man with an overlong neck and a hat with an eccentric band quarrels with another passenger on an overcrowded bus Our hero, as it were, accuses the other gentleman of jostling him, on purpose, no less. Our star then throws himself upon the first available seat. Later in the day the narrator sees the petulant fellow being advised as to the placement of the button of his coat. Queneau's tour de force is to tell this same mundane story multiple ways. Some of his renditions are laugh until you cry funny, others, a bit forced. I would not recommend reading them all at once because the exercise then seems tedious. One or two as a treat after dinner is more the way to go. Each rendition is accompanied by a quirky Thurberesque drawing. These are also assured to bring a few giggles. While Exercises in Style is often considered the author's masterpiece, I still reserve that designation for The Sunday of Life. ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
Queneau sets for himself the challenge of writing the same story, and it is a very slight story indeed, using several different styles and techniques. This edition also includes the efforts of current writers who have taken up the challenge. The story is something like this, a rather pathetic and petulant specimen of man with an overlong neck and a hat with an eccentric band quarrels with another passenger on an overcrowded bus Our hero, as it were, accuses the other gentleman of jostling him, on purpose, no less. Our star then throws himself upon the first available seat. Later in the day the narrator sees the petulant fellow being advised as to the placement of the button of his coat. Queneau's tour de force is to tell this same mundane story multiple ways. Some of his renditions are laugh until you cry funny, others, a bit forced. I would not recommend reading them all at once because the exercise then seems tedious. One or two as a treat after dinner is more the way to go. Each rendition is accompanied by a quirky Thurberesque drawing. These are also assured to bring a few giggles. While Exercises in Style is often considered the author's masterpiece, I still reserve that designation for The Sunday of Life. ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Raymond Queneauprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bartezzaghi, StefanoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dresmé, NicoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eco, UmbertoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harig, LudwigÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Helmlé, EugenÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kis, D.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kousbroek, RudyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kousbroek, RudyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ouředník, PatrikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, BarbaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dans l'S, une heure d'affluence.
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Book description
Haiku summary
Quatre-vingts dix-neuf fois
(les Belges diraient "nonante-neuf")
Une histoire de bus.
(thorold)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0811207897, 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?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:22 -0400)

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