raymond queneau poems > my poetic side

raymond queneau poems > my poetic side

Mostly known for his novels, writer Raymond Queneau was also an accomplished poet who was born in Le Havre in 1903. An only child, he was well educated and studied the classics and philosophy before going onto the Sorbonne in 1921 where he graduated in psychology and philosophy. He would, however, begin a lifelong love of mathematics, something he would increasingly bring to his written work.

On graduation he opted to undertake military service, spending time in Algeria and Morocco with the light infantry, or Zouave, until 1926. In 1928, Queneau married Janine Kahn whom he would stay with, fathering one son, until her death in the 70s. He began working as a reader for publishers Gallimard in 1938, a company to which he would devote much of his life. When war broke out he was conscripted but was demobilized a year later, spending most of the war staying in Saint-Lonard-de-Noblat.

His first novel, Witch Grass was published in 1933 and the poetry collection Chne et chien 4 years later in 1937. Queneau had had a brief dalliance with surrealism when he was in Paris in his youth and its influence can often be found in his later works. He was, however, also very logically minded and struggled with the element of chance that surrealism introduced into life. He was an amateur and talented mathematician which perhaps more greatly influenced his reliance on logical structure, particularly in his poetry.

One of his most influential works would prove to be Exercises in Style which retold the same story 99 different times in 99 different ways and would be translated into over 50 languages as Queneaus fame began to grow in the late 50s and 60s.

In 1960, Queneau helped to found the Ouvroir de littrature potentielle which looked to create various works that used more constrained writing methods. This movement gave rise to some literary oddities, including Georges Perecs novel that contained no letter e in its 300 pages. Using the constraints that particular types of poetry or prose placed on a work was thought to, according to Queneau and his co-founder Francois Le Lionnaise, illicit greater creativity.

Though he published the poetry collection LInstant fatal in 1947, it wasnt until the late 50s that Queneau began to gain public attention with his novel Zazie in the Metro which was adapted into a film a year later.

His major poetical work, A Hundred Thousand Billion Poems was published in 1961 and comprised a series of 10 sonnets. The book highlighted his commitment to innovation within a particular type of writing, with these poems printed on card and each line composed on a different strip. The title comes from the fact that you can move the lines around and make billions of combinations or billions of different poems from the one text.

raymond queneau | french author | britannica

raymond queneau | french author | britannica

After working as a reporter for LIntransigeant (193638), Queneau became a reader for the prestigious Encyclopdie de la Pliade, a scholarly edition of past and present classical authors, and by 1955 was its director.

From Queneaus Surrealist period in the 1920s he retained a taste for verbal juggling, a tendency toward black humour, and a derisive posture toward authority. His puns, sneers, spelling extravaganzas, and other linguistic contortions concealed a total pessimism, an obsession with death. His corrosive laughter rang out in the seemingly light verse of his childhood reminiscences in Chne et chien (1937; Oak and Dog), a novel in verse, and in more philosophical poems: Les Ziaux (1943), Petite Cosmogonie portative (1950; A Pocket Cosmogony), and Si tu timagines (1952; If You Imagine).

The pattern of his novels was similar: from a familiar settinga suburb, an amusement park, or a Paris subwayemerged the vision of an absurd world. Such is the format of Le Chiendent (1933; The Bark Tree); Zazie dans le mtro (1959; Zazie), probably his best-known work (filmed 1960); Les Fleurs bleues (1965; The Blue Flowers); and Le Vol dIcare (1968; The Flight of Icarus). These chronicles of simple people are recounted in language that ranges from everyday slang to the loftiest poetic diction.

raymond queneau - poems by the famous poet - all poetry

raymond queneau - poems by the famous poet - all poetry

Raymond Queneau was born on 1903 in Le Havre, France to an ex colonial soldier named Aguste Queneau. He studied at Lycee in Le Havre and at the age of 17 he moved to Paris. He graduated from Sorbonne, Paris in 1926. Raymond Queneau is not only a poet but also a novelist, publisher, mathematician, humourist, scholar, linguist and a detective. He was a precursor to post modernism. Queneau also wrote some lyrics some of which were very popular in the fifties. His poems are a mixture of classical epic poetry, science/speculation os a stapledonian scale, and humour. In almost everyhting he wrote he was ambitious but tried to be light hearted. Queneaus novel Zazie dans le metro written in 1959 was internationally well known and it was made into a film in 1960. The film was directed byu Louise Malle and was a great success. Queneau used colloquial speech and phonetic spellings in his novels and poems. Photo Coutesy: www.themodernword.com/scriptorium/queneau.html More to come

exercises in style - raymond queneau

exercises in style - raymond queneau

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

The idea behind Raymond Queneau's Exercises in Style is simple enough; he takes a very simple story -- little more than an episode (well, two), really -- and recounts it ninety-nine different ways. The episode(s) on offer are arguably banal: the template consists of someone taking a bus in rush hour, and then two hours later meeting a friend in front of the gare Saint-Lazare; there's some jostling on the bus, and at the later encounter the friend tells him he should get an additional button for his overcoat, but that's pretty much the extent of it. Yet Queneau's achievement is far greater than merely showing off that he could conceive of ninety-nine different ways to re-tell, and re-present the tale: Exercises in Style is, in fact, simply astonishing -- not only in its variety, and the ingeniousness of Queneau's approaches (and equally here, Barabara Wright's translations and inventions), but simply the quality of its pieces. [As Wright notes in her very useful Notes for the 1981 American Paperback Edition, there ultimately were in fact more than ninety-nine pieces, as Queneau substituted several in the 1973 French edition; the English edition, however, is faithful to the original ninety-nine from the 1947 edition -- although in some cases Wright has to offer wholesale transformations of the texts, most obviously in such chapters as the ones she titles 'Gallicisms' and 'For ze Frrensh', which were Anglicismes and Poor lay Zanglay in the original.] The tale is retold in seemingly every conceivable way including, aside from the obvious, metaphorically; as a book-blurb; reduced to entirely logical analysis; presented in the form of a cross-examination; as an entire three-act play and as an ode (set to music, no less); reduced to a mere haiku. Several approaches look at the story entirely differently -- most simply 'Retrograde' (the story told backwards) and 'Antiphrasis' (the opposite of every detail). Then there are the linguistic variations, as the story is told in anagrams as well as a variety of permutations (recall that Queneau would go on to be a founding member of the Oulipo), taken apart and listed by the different parts of speech, or even just entirely in the form of interjections. Among the more straightforward approaches is a brilliant awkward turn, an entirely dream-like variation, and variations of the story told entirely in terms of each of the senses in turn (tactile, olfactory, etc.). Queneau isn't just clever, he's an extremely fine writer; as significant here is the hand of Wright, who in this volume -- which is much more than just a basic translation of the original Exercices de style -- must be considered Queneau's equal partner. From sections which are entirely her own devising -- such as those relying on dialect and slang -- to the deft touch she shows in those where she can't just imitate Queneau but must aim for close correspondence to the original, this is not only a great book but a great translation (specific to its place (the UK) and time, but holding up very well even now, half a century later). Exercises in Style is a true classic, and as essential as any twentieth century text. There's a richness to these variations, and a surprising depth, that makes this much more than a mere curiosity: many of the most significant issues -- philosophical and practical -- about writing and reading are addressed here, and it could serve as the basic textbook for any course in literature or writing. Indeed, if any book should be required reading for students of literature (and would-be writers), it's hard to imagine one more suitable than this one; and this exemplary translation would serve similarly well as a foundational text for anyone interested in translation. A truly great -- and both highly entertaining and thought-provoking -- work that can't be recommended highly enough. - M.A.Orthofer, 1 September 2011

zazie in the metro - raymond queneau

zazie in the metro - raymond queneau

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

Precocious country girl Zazie comes to Paris for a few days, entrusted to the hands (and none too watchful eyes) of her Uncle Gabriel. The city proves something of a disappointment: Zazie's greatest wish is to ride the metro, but public transportation workers have gone on strike, making this impossible. Gabriel arranges for taxi rides with a friend of his, but the automobile is hardly a substitute and Gabriel is not an ideal tour guide, unfamiliar with many of the sites, constantly mistaking them. The girl is entrusted to Gabriel in part because he has a suspect but harmless job -- dancing, late-nights, dressed up as a woman, in a dubious nightclub -- and is, possibly, a "hormosessual". Zazie herself is an odd mixture of innocence and precociousness. Zazie almost immediately runs away to explore the city; a friend of Gilbert's catches her, but she immediately accuses him loudly of having said dirty things to her. Escaping him, she finds herself with another suspect man; to ward off possible danger she recounts how her mother killed her father. And so it goes: Zazie is reunited with Gilbert, puzzles about him, sees much of Paris, meets many interesting people. Most of the book is in the form of dialogue, much of it in slang. In her translation Barbara Wright has rendered it in entertaining and readable fashion. It is, on the whole, a fun book, though not always a nice one. Gilbert is a decent enough fellow, but some of Zazie's actions are a bit dubious. Near-pubescent, her self-centeredness and lack of concern for those around her is a bit much -- perhaps to be expected of a younger child, but no longer quite as charming in an older one. It is a fun book, and with its cross-section of society examined under Zazie's ruthless gaze it gives a nice picture of Paris life ca. 1960. An entertaining, quick read it can certainly be recommended. Note: Zazie in the Metro was made into an excellent film by Louis Malle, with a screenplay by Malle and Queneau. Philippe Noiret is perfectly cast as Gilbert, and Catherine Demongeot makes a fine Zazie. Also recommended.

the artist on her trapeze: barbara wright's 99 variations on a theme by raymond queneau - asymptote

the artist on her trapeze: barbara wright's 99 variations on a theme by raymond queneau - asymptote

David Bellos is the director of the Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication at Princeton University, where he is also a professor of French and comparative literature. He has won many awards for his translations of Georges Perec, Ismail Kadare, and others, including the Man Booker International Translator's Award. He also received the Prix Goncourt for Georges Perec: A Life in Words.

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