Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ernest and Raymond

Yesterday's twin posts stem from my recent rereadings of Ernest Vincent Wright, American author of Gadsby ("A Story of over 50,000 Words Without Using the Letter E") and Raymond Roussel, French novelist and poet. Both can be considered "anticipatory plagiarists" of the Oulipo, though Oulipians tend to dismiss Wright, whose gap-filled magnum opus predates Georges Perec's longer E-less novel by three decades. (This shouldn't be: You can read Gadsby here and decide for yourself!)

What I didn't realize was that EVW and RR were contemporaries. Wright was born in 1872 and died in 1939; Roussel was born in 1877 and killed himself in 1933. Who were the other great hidden prose innovators of that slice of time?


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