View previous topic | View next topic

Disparition, La

Page 1 of 1

Mr Grue
39598.  Thu Dec 15, 2005 12:38 pm Reply with quote

In 1969 Georges Perec's lipogrammatic novel La Disparition was published. The novel does not contain a single instance of the letter e, but rather than simply omitting the vowel, it is "written around" such that "three lawyers" might become "a trio of solicitors". The title literally means The Disappearance, but for obvious reasons was translated into equally e-less English as A Void.

The plot involves a group of friends searching out a disappeared man, Anton Vowl. As the search continues, one by one they are picked off by the dark forces we suppose are at the root of Vowl's disappearance.

Much of Perec's work deals with absence, including his most accomplished, Life A User's Manual. It is thought that the writer, orphaned by the Holocaust, is, in La Disparition, writing about the loss of those around him. This is expounded upon in David Bellos's biography. Bellos even makes a connection with the golum fable, wherein a monster created by Jews to protect themselves is ultimately defeated by the rubbing out a symbol etched into its forehead.

One critic, on its release, failed in his review to mention the lipogrammatic nature of the work, suggesting that he had managed to read the entire book without realising there was an unused letter.

Perec went on to use all the omitted e's in The Exeter Text, where e becomes the only vowel used throughout.

39608.  Thu Dec 15, 2005 1:00 pm Reply with quote

This puts me in mind of “V” by Thomas Pynchon.

Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Jr. (born May 8, 1937) is an American novelist noted for his complex, labyrinthine, and critically acclaimed works, including V., Gravity's Rainbow, and The Crying of Lot 49. He is also known for his reclusive nature; few photographs of him have ever been published.

V. is the debut novel of Thomas Pynchon published in 1963, concerning the journey of discharged U.S. Navy sailor Benny Profane through a decadent group of artists in 1956, along with the attempt of an aging traveller named Herbert Stencil to locate the mysterious woman he knows only as V.

What Wiki doesn’t note; somewhat oddly, as it would hardly escape your notice on reading the book, is the superabundance of the use of the letter V in “V”.

39609.  Thu Dec 15, 2005 1:06 pm Reply with quote

Verily. I devoured it voraciously in November.

gerontius grumpus
39691.  Thu Dec 15, 2005 5:52 pm Reply with quote

Lippogram, does that mean something written in fat?

Mr Grue
39784.  Fri Dec 16, 2005 8:48 am Reply with quote

The critic that missed the point was Rene-Marill Alberes, Les Nouvelles litteraires, 22/05/1969. Apparently he wasn't much cop as a literary critic.

The first known e-less novel was Gadsby by Ernest Vincent Wright.

Disparition was the particular word used by French authorities for people missing presumed dead, and was thus the word used on certificates pertaining to French Jewry that had likely perished in the death camps.

The letter "e" in French is pronounced eu, and has the same sound as eux, "them".

"What has disappeared then, from La Disparition? E has. 'They' have - those who have the Golem to protect them no longer." David Bellos

The Exeter Text's French title was Les Revenents.

And as for writing with fat:

654166.  Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:05 pm Reply with quote

Why stop at the absence of one letter when you can go for broke and remove them wholesale?

Check out Mark Dunn's Ella Minnow Pea, "a progressively lipogrammatic epistolary fable".
Methuen ISBN 0 413 77295 0

It's short, witty, and in its darker undertones has a little something for the fundamentalists out there.

662812.  Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:01 pm Reply with quote

My favourite concepts include:
Le Train de Nulle Part: French; no verbs.
Alphabetic Africa: each chapter uses words only beginning with consecutive letters. That is to say, the first has only words starting with "a", the second "a" and "b", and so on.
Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den: Chinese; every word here is "shi".
Cadaeic Cadenza: written with each subsequent word has the same amount of letters as the next digit in pi. I used in this poem as the question I submitted to the QI/timesonline competition (it won).


Page 1 of 1

All times are GMT - 5 Hours

Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group