Oulipo Compendium
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Oulipo Compendium

4.42 of 5 stars 4.42  ·  rating details  ·  221 ratings  ·  20 reviews
What do Marcel Duchamp and Italo Calvino have in common? The Oulipo, or Ouvroir de litterature potentielle. Raymond Queneau and Francois Le Lionnais founded their "Workshop for Potential Literature" in 1960 to find out how abstract restrictions could be combined with imaginative writing (as in Georges Perec's notorious novel written without the letter e.) Still formidably...more
Paperback, 333 pages
Published February 1st 2006 by Atlas (first published 1998)
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MJ Nicholls
This is the seminal English text on the Oulipo in print and contains a comprehensive list of their constraints in practice. The Oulipo can make writing seem fresh and fun again when you have tired of turning out another mediocre paragraph, another attempt to scratch out a literary mainstream novel, another barrelful of shoddy sentences. On the other hand, plenty of these constraints are for professionals only, as the difficulty in putting them into practice (meaningfully), is truly reserved for...more
Adam Floridia
1) a ruse since i scan, i view some versos. i no view sum.

Translation: I'm lying. I didn't "finish" this book. It's not one to be read cover to cover. This is one of those fine books that should always be no more than an arms length away. It is a collection of the mad creative genius writing constraints dreamed up by the mad creative geniuses of OuLiPo. For anyone unfamiliar with the OUvroir de LIttérature POtentielle ("workshop of potential literature"), it was a group of, mainly, writers and m...more
This book will either drive you insane with hatred, or you'll love it to death. It will take no prisoners. For those who love literature as word-playing and if you have a strong love for Raymond Queneau or Georges Perec's writing - this volume published by the great Atlas press is just for you.
Liam Guilar
"Oulipians: rats who construct the labyrinth from which they plan to escape".
Presumably on the basis that the more complicated the labyrinth, the harder the rat has to work, the better it feels IF it escapes.
This book elevates literary insanity to a glorious art form.
Dec 23, 2009 M. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: own, 2009
This is massive, and while even explained some of the Oulipo's experiments remain impenetrable, there is just so much here, from both a historical perspective and that of a tome for inspiration. Although I question the limited inclusion of the other Ou-x-Pos, as there really isn't much offered to get an idea of the project (OuLiPoPo, despite having the second largest section, is particularly obtuse).
Oulipo doesn't take any prisoners - you are either into it or you're not. And that's perfectly ok. Small club into word or narrative games. Writing as a science with a side of surrealist playfulness. A must for those who are curious and open to have their literature take them to other places. Even silly places!
Crazy, intriguing, amazing. There's the point of an exercise being just that, an exercise, yes. But it makes sense to prove something, to challenge yourself in a way that opens your boundaries.
Stuart Macalpine
This was a must read for the intellectually curious! :) a bit odd but...
Eddie Watkins
Worth it for Queneau's 100,000,000,000,000 poems alone!
I hesitated to say it but... this is junk. Not that I've read it from cover to cover. I probably never will.

I'm sympathetic to the central idea of Oulipo... I think. Anyway, yeah, devise constraints, make your own goofy rules, use math and secret schemes to guide your work. Fine.

But Oulipo brought together *some* very talented writers (Queneau and Calvino are among my favorite artists). Individually they did some great things, and the idea behind Oulipo may have served each of them in his/her ow...more
Peter Auster describes this book as, 'a late 20th century kabala'. It is! It's my book of secrets and mystical word games. My bible of literary fun. It inspires me to do so much more than merely write stories. I have not read it from cover to cover, but I have devoured it, bit by bit, many times over.
oulipo=ouvroir de litterature potentielle (workshop for potential literature). one of the founders, raymond queneau, describes oulipians as "rats who build the labyrinth from which they plan to escape." ha! a delightful collection of their exercises and works.
I've browsed enough of this to consider it "read" for a reference work, though I have yet to get through all of Queneau's 100,000,000,000,000 poems--all of which are included! Nice party trick for the nerds...
Ok, I like the idea of Ou-x-po, but the products really stink. And this book is so ponderously obnoxious I had to fling it away.
Ivan A.
amazing that this group still gathers! crazy, fascinating and readable .. literature completely different!
less inspirational than i'd've imagined. but then again, i didn't have much time sitting with it.
AJ Dehany
The definitive introduction and reference and resource for all things Oulipian.
Excellent anthology of one of my favorite literary "groups".
Aug 21, 2007 Al rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: standby
Currently I've lent this to Jasen...
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