[Parution] How to Do Things with Forms : the Oulipo and its Inventions

Chris Andrews, How to Do Things with Forms: The Oulipo and its Inventions, Montreal, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2022

376 pages

ISBN : 9780228011637

39, 95 $

The Oulipo (Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, or Workshop for Potential Literature) is a literary think tank that brings together writers and mathematicians. Since 1960, its worldwide influence has refreshed ways of making and thinking about literature.

How to Do Things with Forms assesses the work of the group, explores where it came from, and envisages its future. Redefining the Oulipo’s key concept of the constraint in a clear and rigorous way, Chris Andrews weighs the roles of craft and imitation in the group’s practice. He highlights the importance of translation for the Oulipo’s writers, explaining how their new forms convey meanings and how these famously playful authors are also moved by serious concerns. Offering fresh interpretations of emblematic Oulipian works such as Georges Perec’s Life: A User’s Manual, Andrews also examines lesser-known texts by Jacques Roubaud, Anne F. Garréta, and Michelle Grangaud.

How to Do Things with Forms addresses questions of interest to anyone involved in the making of literature, illuminating how writers decide when to stop revising, the risks and benefits of a project mentality in creative writing, and ways of holding a reader’s interest for as long as possible.

Chris Andrews is associate professor at the Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University.

Table of contents:

Tables and Figures ix
Acknowledgments xi
Abbreviations xiii
Note on Translations xvii
Members of the Oulipo xix
Introduction 3

1 What the Oulipo Was Not 14
2 Kinds of Rules 39
3 Automation, Craft, and Imitation 73
4 Manipulation, Translation, and Composition 97
5 Meaningful Forms and Clinamen 127
6 Revelation and Dissimulation 163
7 Games Gone Wrong 192
8 Potentiality, Uptake, and Spread 221
9 What Has Become of the Oulipo? 245

Notes 279
Bibliography 311
Index 347

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Citer ce billet
Laure Michel (2022, 23 septembre). [Parution] How to Do Things with Forms : the Oulipo and its Inventions. Poemata. Consulté le 15 juin 2024, à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/sx3e

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