The Fascination of What's Difficult

minnow at minnow at
Tue Feb 17 15:07:13 EST 2004

Joe Nankivell explained a bit:

>> >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)!
>> "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.

Lacking "le" and "les" as well as "de" and "des", sounds awkward.  "je" can
be done without, I assume.

>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.

Whereas *The Wonderful O* is entirely easy to read from one end to the
other, in fact almost impossible not to.

Somebody, which came first?  Was Thurber extracting the Michael, or did he
think of it independently, or did Prc find the idea in Thurber and take it
to extremes, does anyone suppose?


To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list