Skip to content

Exercises in Style: 65th Anniversary Edition

by Raymond Queneau

cover image for

His book becomes an exercise on rhetoric itself, indeed a kind of demonstration that rhetoric is to be found everywhere… Once Queneau had thought up the Exercices de style, it was like inventing the wheel – everyone can run with it, as far as they like.  

—Umberto Eco

A new edition of the famous modernist story told ninety-nine different ways — with newly translated exercises by Queneau and contributions by some of today's most acclaimed stylists.


Exercises in Style: 65th Anniversary Edition

Fiction by Raymond Queneau

translated from the French by Barbara Wright and Chris Clarke
with a contribution by Ben Marcus, Blake Butler, Amelia Gray, Jesse Ball, Harry Mathews, Lynne Tillman, Shane Jones, Jonathan Lethem, Enrique Vila-Matas and Frederic Tuten

On a crowded bus at midday, Raymond Queneau observes one man accusing another of jostling him deliberately. When a seat is vacated, the first man appropriates it. Later, in another part of town, Queneau sees the man being advised by a friend to sew a new button on his overcoat. Exercises in Style, Queneu’s experimental masterpiece and a hallmark book of the OULIPO literary group, retells this unexceptional tale in ninety-nine exceptional ways, employing writing styles such as the sonnet and the alexandrine, onomatopoeia and even Cockney.

A 65th Anniversary Edition includes twenty-five exercises by Queneau never before published in English translated by Chris Clarke, as well as new exercises by contemporary writers Jesse Ball, Blake Butler, Amelia Gray, Shane Jones, Jonathan Lethem, Ben Marcus, Harry Mathews, Lynne Tillman, Frederic Tuten, and Enrique Vila-Matas.

published January 31st, 2013
related articles