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Exercises in Style by Raymond Queneau

Exercises in Style (1947)

by Raymond Queneau

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (31)  French (5)  Dutch (2)  Italian (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (42)
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Uno podría seguir leyendo esta mini historia hasta el infinito y Queneau nos demuestra que las posibilidades no tienen fin. Divertidísimo ejemplo del ingenio de la Oulipo. ( )
  andresborja42 | Mar 24, 2018 |
Lu il y a fort fort longtemps, quand j'étais toute jeunette (ado depuis pas bien longtemps), je suis convaincue que ce livre a façonné ma fibre de lectrice (faute d'une meilleure manière de l'exprimer). À la fois surréaliste, inattendu, de prime abord complètement gratuit, ce livre s'avère être - comme son titre l'indique - un exercice fort intéressant de littérature et d'écriture, et donc de lecture.
Un classique. ( )
  elisala | Feb 16, 2018 |
per chi crede che viaggiare in autobus sia noiosa routine la clamorosa smentita. Imperdibile per pendolari che escono di casa alle sei di mattina e hanno bisogno di tenersi su ( )
  icaro. | Aug 31, 2017 |

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. ( )
1 vote GlennRussell | Feb 16, 2017 |
A terrific book, full of humor. It took me some time to come around to reading it because of the format. It's the kind of thing that's great to have on the table, so you can pick it up and read a few exercises at random. It's easy to go from one to the next, once you've started. ( )
  jantz | Jan 1, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (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.

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)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Queneau uses a variety of literary styles and forms in ninety-nine exercises, which retell the same story about a minor brawl aboard a bus.

» see all 2 descriptions

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