The Fascination of What's Difficult

Joe Nankivell Joe.Nankivell at ucd.ie
Tue Feb 17 12:58:40 EST 2004


Charlie:
> >And some
> >challenges are just pointless - like that French writer (who was it?) who
> >wrote a book without using the letter 'e', and was hailed as a genius for so
> >doing - my ars (poetica)!
Minnow:
> "Very clever" and "genius" not being the same thing, as it were?  It is
> certainly clever to do that, and in French must have been very limiting,
> since one couldn't have anything masculine in the text, but I can't believe
> that it improved the transfer of information from author to reader by much!

In case anyone's interested, it's 'La disparition' by Georges Perec 
(Gorgs Prc?) And it does include masculine nouns, just indefinitely 
or in plural. It was translated into English (Nglish) under the title 'A 
void' by Gilbert Adair, thus ratcheting the cleverness/technical 
difficulty up a notch or two. As it happens one of the few things I 
know about Gilbert Adair came from Private Eye's Pseuds Corner, 
in a quote where he identified himself as a genius.

I've just read the first couple of lines of both versions, and I confess 
to being fairly impressed. But there's no way I'd stick with it for 
more than a page.

Joe

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