Exercises in Style: 65th Anniversary Edition

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.…
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The Blue Flowers

Fiction by Raymond Queneau

Translated by Barbara Wright

The Blue Flowers follows two unlikely characters: Cidrolin, who alternates between drinking and napping on a barge parked along the Seine in the 1960s, and the Duke d’Auge as he rages through history—about 700 years of it—refusing to crusade, clobbering his king with a cannon, and dabbling in alchemy. But is it just a coincidence that the Duke appears only when Cidrolin is dozing? And vice versa? As Raymond Queneau explains: “There is an old Chinese saying: ‘I dream that I am a butterfly and pray there is a butterfly dreaming he is me.…
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Exercises In Style

Fiction by Raymond Queneau

Translated by Barbara Wright

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 another button on his overcoat. Exercises in Style retells this unexceptional tale ninety-nine times, employing the sonnet and the alexandrine, “Ze Frrench” and “Cockney.” An “Abusive” chapter heartily deplores the events; “Opera English” lends them grandeur.…
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We Always Treat Women Too Well

Fiction by Raymond Queneau

Translated by Barbara Wright

We Always Treat Women Too Well was for many years a secret work of Raymond Queneau, one of the most highly regarded French literary figures of this century. As a novelist, poet, scholar, mathematician and philosopher, he tackled some of the most serious scientific and philosophical problems of our age with insight and erudition while also writing witty and stylistically experimental fiction that has earned him a popular readership. We Always Treat Women Too Well was first presented to the public under the guise of a novel by a young Irish writer, Sally Mara, translated into French by “Michael Presle,” the pseudonym Queneau adapted partly as a joke, and partly because the apparently obscene content of the book might have been misunderstood at the time.…
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The Sunday Of Life

Fiction by Raymond Queneau

Translated by Barbara Wright

The Sunday of Life (Le Dimanche de la vie), the late Raymond Queneau’s tenth novel, was first published in French by Gallimard in 1951 and is now appearing for the first time in this country, in a translation by Barbara Wright. Critics are universally agreed that it and the later Zazie dans le métro (1959) show Queneau at his zaniest and most cheerful, and it is not surprising that both these novels have been made into popular and successful films.…
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The Flight of Icarus

Fiction by Raymond Queneau

Translated from the French by Barbara Wright

Called by some the French Borges, by others the creator of le nouveau roman a generation ahead of its time, Raymond Queneau’s work in fiction continues to defy strict categorization. The Flight of Icarus (Le Vol d’lcare) is his only novel written in the form of a play: seventy-four short scenes, complete with stage directions. Consciously parodying Pirandello and Robbe-Grillet, it begins with a novelist’s discovery that his principal character, Icarus by name, has vanished.…
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