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Tyyliharjoituksia by Raymond Queneau

Tyyliharjoituksia (original 1947; edition 1991)

by Raymond Queneau, Pentti Salmenranta

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,462315,114 (3.96)72
Authors:Raymond Queneau
Other authors:Pentti Salmenranta
Info:Helsingissä : Otava, 1991.(nid.)
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Tags:yhteiskunnalliset ilmiöt:kaunokirjallisuus, sanataide, kokeellinen kirjallisuus

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Exercises in Style by Raymond Queneau (1947)



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» See also 72 mentions

English (21)  French (4)  Italian (2)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (31)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
This book really is not a novel in my opinion but it is included in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. It is what it says in the title, a couple of paragraphs about an encounter on a crowded bus by the narrator is told repeatedly 99 times in different styles.
I guess that this would be a good translation. Barbara Wright won recognition as on the list of the 50 Outstanding Translations of the Last 50 years. The narrator has done a good job in translating this work and described it as great fun.
The book has linguistic knowledge, ingenuity and humor. It could be interesting to a person studying writing and it certainly gave good examples of things like onomatopeoeia, past, present, passive and even mathematical.
Raymond Queneau is a poet, scholar and mathematician. He is also a linguist and study of language.
The initials for each of the Exercises were done by Stefan Themerson and are unique enough that I think he deserved recognition. They are naken figures doing callestenics in the shape of the first letter of the word.
A quick read for 2 pts in the 1001 Challenge for 2014. Thank you Kyle. ( )
  Kristelh | Jan 10, 2014 |
Sample includes full introduction to Queneau's book, which is useful...
  lulaa | Aug 8, 2013 |
Hmm, well, the title is certainly apt--this really isn't a book that you read because of the plot! What it is, is a story of just a few paragraphs, told over and over again in a whole variety of styles.

I thought the idea sounded really cool, but somehow the actuality of it just didn't grab me. ( )
  JenneB | Apr 2, 2013 |

Pearls before a swine? Perhaps.

It definitely takes a lot of talent for someone to tell one completely unremarkable story 99 times and still make a fun and readable book out of it. What Queneau (and the translator) has done here is really clever work, no doubt. And I can imagine this whole exercise must have been very amusing for him. But that doesn't mean reading it will be just as enjoyable as writing it was.**

These are exercises in writing in English (originally French). I do have some working knowledge of English, but nowhere enough to understand the nuances of the language. I actually had to look up some of the chapter titles in the dictionary, most of which were technical terms related to linguistics and grammar. Being illiterate in literary matters, I may not always be able to appreciate writing proficiency. I read for fun, not for 99 exercises in reading!
People who have a better eye for word play, will probably enjoy this book better.

My rating for this book kept fluctuating throughout. There are some chapters for which I will easily give solid five stars. But then there are others which seem entirely nonsensical and impractical. No one will ever use them for any real writing. Also, writing style needs to be suitable to the content. Some of the styles seem forced. Then there a bunch of chapters which were perhaps added just to bring the number to 99.

- Add/remove a sound to/from beginning/middle/end of each word
- permutations of nth alphabets/words
These already make more than 10 chapters.

Another clever thing Queneau did was to keep the chapters very short. Otherwise I would have skipped many of them after reading only a few sentences to figure out the style.

In case anyone is wondering what the story is, here it is, in Interjections style:
"Psst! h'm! ah! oh! hem! ah! ha! hey! well! oh! pooh! poof! ow! oo! ouch! hey! eh! h'm! pffft!

Well! hey! pooh! oh! h'm! right!"

** Completely unrelated aside :

This reminds me of my visit to MoMA. One of the works of art was '10 million years', basically all the numbers from 1 to 10 million written in 10 fat books. On the artist's part, it must have taken a lot of patience and hard-work. It probably fed some sort of obsession of his. But no matter what it meant to him, to me it was just BLAH! I can be quite a lousy museum-goer. ( )
1 vote HearTheWindSing | Mar 31, 2013 |
Le narrateur rencontre, dans un autobus, un jeune homme au long cou, coiffe d'un chapeau orné d'une tresse au lieu de ruban. Le jeune homme échange quelques mots assez vifs avec un autre voyageur, puis va s'asseoir à une place devenue libre. Un peu plus tard, le narrateur rencontre le même jeune homme en grande conversation avec un ami qui lui conseille de faire remonter le bouton supérieur de son pardessus. Cette brève histoire est racontée quatre-vingt-dix-neuf fois, de quatre-vingt-dix-neuf manières différentes.
1 vote PierreYvesMERCIER | Feb 19, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Raymond Queneauprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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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Haiku summary
Quatre-vingts dix-neuf fois
(les Belges diraient "nonante-neuf")
Une histoire de bus.

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:46 -0400)

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