Read Esercizi di stile by Raymond Queneau Umberto Eco Online


Un episodio di vita quotidiana, di sconcertante banalità, e novantanove variazioni sul tema, in cui la storia viene ridetta mettendo alla prova tutte le figure retoriche, i diversi generi letterari (dall'epico al drammatico, dal racconto gotico alla lirica giapponese), giocando con sostituzioni lessicali, frantumando la sintassi, permutando l'ordine delle lettere alfabeticUn episodio di vita quotidiana, di sconcertante banalità, e novantanove variazioni sul tema, in cui la storia viene ridetta mettendo alla prova tutte le figure retoriche, i diversi generi letterari (dall'epico al drammatico, dal racconto gotico alla lirica giapponese), giocando con sostituzioni lessicali, frantumando la sintassi, permutando l'ordine delle lettere alfabetiche... Un effetto comico travolgente, che già si è prestato a realizzazioni teatrali, ma al tempo stesso un esperimento sulle possibilità del linguaggio che può essere usato, come già è avvenuto, per fini didattici."Questi gli esercizi di stile di Raymond Queneau, che per anni mi hanno tentato come traduttore, perché erano ritenuti intraducibili, legati come sono al "genio" specifico della lingua francese. Non si trattava di tradurre, almeno nel senso corrente del termine, ma di capire le regole di gioco che Queneau si era poste, e quindi giocare la stessa partita con un'altra lingua. Magari, come ho fatto, azzardando qualche mossa in più, dato che Queneau aveva aperto la strada e non restava che continuare, e andar oltre, nello stesso spirito.A tranquillizzare il lettore (e per non sottrargli il gusto del testo originale) questa edizione si presenta come traduzione con testo a fronte. Omaggio, umile e devoto, a un grande artificiere che ci insegna a muoverci nella lingua come in una polveriera. E per artificiere si intende Maestro dell'Artificio.Umberto Eco...

Title : Esercizi di stile
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9788806158828
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 237 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Esercizi di stile Reviews

  • Manny
    2019-02-17 12:33

    MetaFrom what point of view should I review the book? Evidently: from all possible points of view.SnobbishNeedless to say, I am reading the original French edition. I can hardly believe that his delicate linguistic irony would survive translation into English. Quelle horreur!VulgarI laughed until I wet myself. Well, I should know better than to read this kind of book in the bathroom.PedanticIf nothing else, very educational. I have already learned the names of two figures of speech I didn't previously know.AnxiousWait... maybe someone else has already done this joke? Let me check the reviews. Oh, thank GoodReads, they haven't!PessimisticThe idea is certainly amusing at first. But I doubt he'll be able to keep it up for 99 different versions.GrudgingAlright... this isn't as easy as one first thinks. I'm not even up to double figures, and I'm already running out of ideas. He was a smart guy.MinimalistUnique.Conscience-strickenI'm doing this? I should be working! But he is quite inspiring.PracticalI will put the book on the coffee table, and read a couple of pages every now and then. I don't think you're meant to go cover-to-cover. Also, living in Cambridge as we do, I am sure that at least half our visitors will enjoy leafing through it.

  • Glenn Russell
    2019-01-27 16:59

    On the platform, pla pla pla, of a bus, chuff chuff, chuff, which was an S (and singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest), it was about noon, ding dang dong, ding dang dong, a ridiculous ephebus, poof, poof, who had one of those hats, pooh, suddenly turned (twirl twirl), on his neighbour angrily, grrh, grrh, and said, hm hm: "You are purposely josling me, Sir," Ha ha. - Exercises in Style, Raymond QueneauOne very effective way I have found to squeeze the juice of wisdom from the books I read is to write a review, which forces me to formulate my ideas and opinions (I hope; at least that's my intent) in precise, clear language. However, with Raymond Queneau's Exercises in Style, we have a book that contains not only wisdom but many flavors of linguistic magic. Thus, I need to do more than simply write a review. I found the solution: I read Barbara Wright's translation aloud, recording my voice on a digital recorder, and then listen whilst taking my walks.Each of the ninety-nine variations of this short tale of a young man with his long neck and felt hat is worth reading and listening to multiple times; matter of fact, it would be an aesthetic injustice to read through this novel once or twice and put it down, thinking you finished the book and did the author justice. No, no, no - that would be anti-Queneau!Should I attempt to be linguistically clever, verbally crafty, syntactically cunning, offering astute wordplay, adroit repartee or ingenious punning? I should not and I will not. I will simply say how Queneau's novel is a one-of-a-kind adventure into language and the ways language can be used to tell a story. And, oh, lest I forget - the chapter heading are complete with fanciful, cartoonish illustrations of humans posing as the beginning letters of words, making the entire work that much more charming and piquant. Thank you Stefan Themerson for your artwork and thank you New Directions for your publishing creativity.Barbara Wright does the English translation. And what a translation! A work of art in its own right (no pun intended). Barbara Wright's first career was that of a pianist and she found translating and playing piano have a great deal in common. She noted how both require an ability to, as she says in her own words, "present artistic works to an audience in a manner acceptable and satisfying to the composer or writer and honest in their interpretation."As by way of example, here is the first line of the chapter entitled Parechesis, where we read, "On the butt-end of a bulging bus which was transbustling an abundance of incubuses and Buchmanites from bumbledom towards their bungalows, a bumptious buckeen whose buttocks were remote from his bust and who was buttired in a boody ridiculous busby, buddenly had a bust-up with a robust buckra who was bumping into him: "Buccaneer, buzz off, you're butting my bunions!" Now such a beautiful boutique of buzzes baffles the brain . . . - well, you get the idea; I will stop there so as not to get carried away and bore.Now that I put the finishing touches on my review, I bid you ado as I am off to the park, digital recorder in hand, poised to listen to Exercises In Style, and by so listening to float up into an ocean of linguistic light and aesthetic bliss. Tally-ho with Raymond Queneau.

  • Geoff
    2019-02-03 21:00

    Only one book has ever “changed my life” (god, if only things were so simple that a book could change your life!) and that is Joyce’s Ulysses, and that only in terms of my ideas of dedication and rigor. It certainly didn’t unearth profound aspects of my personality that until that point were latent, it didn’t give me any guiding path in life to tread, it didn’t suddenly instill value into things that I before considered to be without value. What it primarily did was to show me the results of dedication- not only on Joyce’s part, but on my part- that is, that if I dedicated myself to reading and rereading and understanding this at first baffling text, that the reward would be a thousand times the effort I put into it. That Joyce was kind enough, generous enough, to create a work so complex, that resonates on so many levels and in so many poetic and humorous and satiric and intellectual and dramatic tones; and most of all, best of all, that he demands that his reader work a fraction as hard as he did. Because he knew that what he possessed inside himself, if expressed correctly, was capable of bringing a shimmer of aesthetic recognition across the imagination unlike anything that had come before or after. There really is only literature before- and after-Joyce, no matter your opinions on Ulysses itself. It is the Theory of Relativity for the arts. It destroyed and absorbed everything that came before it and influenced everything that came after.From what I know of Queneau’s life, it too was changed by Ulysses. (He considered it a “magical act”). His reckoning with Joyce came after his graduation from the Sorbonne with a degree in philosophy and mathematics, where one of his great influences was Hegel. Now, I don’t know much about Hegel’s Absolute Idealism but I do know that it was a somewhat optimistic view of how the mind comes into contact with nature, and that philosophical problems are brought to resolution by integrating contradictions into our practices, rather than eliminating them or seeking to answer things by some ultimate “conclusion”. In other words, a dialogue rather than a “solve-all” was at the heart of our thinking and perception. An obvious aspect of this is that nature and our participation in it are all part of an extremely lengthy (some might say “infinite” (I won’t)) process. The particulars of the universe are always coming into being by a process through which they are in a contradictory communication with what they relate to, come into contact with. I assure you all this babble is leading to something. I hope. What I’m attempting to say is that Ulysses represents the expression of an absorption and assimilation of all the facets of the history of literature, and with Ulysses the history of literature ends. That is to say it necessarily begins anew. This is not a review of Ulysses, and this won’t go on much longer, I promise.So what does an extremely intelligent human being interested in writing literature after the reckoning with Joyce do? Joyce himself had no recourse but, after annihilating the novel, to annihilate language itself (that is, create it anew) with Finnegans Wake. But what do the rest of us do? We look at literature with new eyes, we look for where it can go now. I think that is exactly the point Queneau was making with Exercises In Style. It attempts an observation and notation of what exactly language can do with fiction post-Joyce. (Beckett did this too. Many people did this, are doing this. This is what postmodernism is all about, coming to terms with Joyce). However, in contrast to Beckett, Queneau's profundities are always masked in the language of the quotidian, the everyday, the comedic, the banal. An utterly banal scene is recounted 99 times, in 99 styles. In these 99 recitations of the same scene we begin finally to focus on the medium and not the message, or the Hegelian contradiction or dialogue between the medium and the message (or lack of message). In some ways, the really revolutionary aspect of Exercises In Style is that it is so not revolutionary- it retells a scene that any of us might observe on any given day- but that it poses questions about the fundamentals of our reading experience, and therefore our living experience.

  • Scribble Orca
    2019-01-29 15:57

    UPDATE: Queneau's Exercises in Style is given the Geoff Wilt treatment in Verbivoracious Festschrift Volume Three: The Syllabus.-- Who the fuck writes the same thing 99 times over? Pretentious twit! Don't bother.-- A masterpiece of style, grammar, innovation, elegance, a tour de force of wizardry, erudition, humour and social commentary. Chapeau M'sieur Queneau.-- I didn't really get the headings. Were those meant to be chapters?-- Mate, don't be late, address the great and adumbrate, there'll be a spate, the rules conflate, all congregate and share the plate.-- Wright achieves that rare symbiosis between writer and translator, extending original material into witty, heady realms of delightful invention [Societe pour Les Jeux de Maux]-- You are reading this review and wondering when it will all, surely, end?-- ayiay maay oingay otay aysay ayiay eallyray njoyedeay tiay eryvay uchmay, othbay rightWay ndaay ueneauQay reaay rilliantbay - eezjay ddingaay yaay otay vereay ordway reaksbay ymay ittlelay indmay.-- Personally, I have no idea why anybody would want to read the same story 99 times over, let alone write it. Must have nothing better to do with herhis life. *Sniff*. Not like some of us.-- Oh, Queneau. But you know, writers have this metathing going on these days, you know. Just have to show their practice forms, you know, can't be satisfied with just writing a book, oh no, they have to show their working, you know. We used to do that in school. For maths, you know.-- Book. Words. Repeated. Character. Same. Scene. No change. Conclusion? Run the logic past again, will you?-- This book has no plot and no characters.-- There were a number of reviews written about a book called Exercises in Style which was actually an exercise in style about another book called Exercices de Style which was about a not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) on a bus (in Paris) apparently arguing with an older man on a bus (in Paris) because the not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) on the bus (in Paris) thought that the older man on the bus (in Paris) was treading on the not-yet middle-aged toes of the not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) on the bus (in Paris) and later the not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) no longer on the bus (in Paris) met a friend dressed similarly who apparently was telling the not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) no longer on the bus (in Paris) that the button on the coat of the not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) no longer on the bus (in Paris) was placed too low on the coat of the not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) no longer on the bus (in Paris) and needed to be placed higher on the coat of the not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) no longer on the bus (in Paris) and these other reviews seemed to suggest that there were as many views regarding this book about a not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) on a bus (in Paris) apparently arguing with an older man on a bus (in Paris) because the not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) on the bus thought that the older man on the bus (in Paris) was treading on the not-yet middle-aged toes of the not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) on a bus (in Paris) and later the not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) no longer on the bus (in Paris) met a friend dressed similarly who apparently was telling the not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) no longer on the bus (in Paris) that the button on the coat of the not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) no longer on the bus (in Paris) was placed too low on the coat of the not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) no longer on the bus (in Paris) and needed to be placed higher on the coat of the not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) no longer on the bus (in Paris) as there were variations on the theme about a not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) on a bus (in Paris) apparently arguing with an older man on a bus (in Paris) because the not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) on the bus (in Paris) thought that the older man on the bus (in Paris) was treading on the not-yet middle-aged toes of the not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) on the bus (in Paris) and later the not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) no longer on the bus (in Paris) met a friend dressed similarly who apparently was telling the not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) no longer on the bus (in Paris) that the button on the coat of the not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) no longer on the bus (in Paris) was placed too low on the coat of the not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) no longer on the bus (in Paris) and needed to be placed higher on the coat of the not-yet middle-aged man with a long neck and a hat (with a string and not a ribbon) no longer on the bus (in Paris).-- Zis eez reelly going tu-tu far wiz ze pharrow dayee. Ayee ate it, zis eez tripe.

  • Nickolas the Kid
    2019-01-28 12:43

    Το βιβλίο αυτό ήταν σκέτη απόλαυση!************************- Οτ λιβλιο ταυτό νατη τέσκη λαυπόαση- Το βιβλίο ναούμ, ήταν σκέτη ναουμ απόλαυση ναούμ...- Το αντικείμενο με το σκληρό εξώφυλλο και τα φύλλα με γράμματα προκάλεσε τέρψη οφθαλμών και σκέψης...Κάπως έτσι λοιπόν ο συγγραφέας παραλλάσει την ιστορία ενός νεαρού σε ένα λεωφορείο και δημιουργεί 99 διαφορετικού τύπου ιστορίες, οι οποίες είναι απολαυστικές και αναδεικνύουν το μεγαλείο της γλώσσας και της συγγραφής!!!4/5 αστεράκια. Το διάβασα απνευστί με ένα μόνιμο χαμόγελο!!!ΥΓ: Πολύ καλή η δουλειά του μεταφραστή....

  • Fionnuala
    2019-01-27 20:41

    This is a lot of fun at the beginning as you realise exactly what Queneau has challenged himself to do here: rewrite the same little scene about a gangly young man in a badly fitting overcoat and an odd hat, in different styles, ninety-nine times! After number twenty however, the various word play games are no longer quite as funny. After number forty, you’re pretty sceptical about Queneau's mental health. By number sixty, you’re seriously worried about your own. By number eighty, you’re seeing that gangly young man everywhere you go. You skip to ninety-nine in a desperate attempt to save your sanity but no, it is not to be, the last line is more maddening than anything that went before: you are left wondering who Theodore is and why Albert didn’t recognise him when Theodore was advising the gangly young man in the odd hat how to alter his badly fitting overcoat in front of the Gare St Lazare? But wait, is that little overcoat scene the primary, the ultimate ‘exercise de style’? That would be a fine play on words indeed!

  • Ian
    2019-01-21 18:40

    Blurb(view spoiler)[“Exercises in Style” retells an apparently unremarkable tale ninety-nine times, employing a variety of styles, ranging from sonnet to cockney to mathematical formula. Too funny to be merely a pedantic thesis, this virtuoso set of themes and variations is a linguistic rust-remover, a guide to literary forms and a demonstration of imagery and inventiveness. (hide spoiler)]MJ Nicholls(view spoiler)[I finally located my copy of this ingenuous little number in my attic and read it through again. I think my favourite mode has to be ‘HTML,’ where the narrator links to other computers in the world around him while telling the bus altercation story. I pursued some of these links, before getting lost and deciding that I had to retrace my steps, using a history file that my PC had compiled. It was funnier the third time around, oddly. I doubt whether I would even (get it? Even, not odd?) find it funny at all the fourth time around, but nothing ever is, sadly. I looked up some of the more specific verse forms that escaped me on the first two reads and, oddly, smiled even more knowingly than the first and second times. (A more knowing smile involves greater purchase on the lips of one's target or oneself). It fascinated me that there were things that I missed on my first two reads and that I would now tell you about them in my review. Perhaps, friends will appreciate that someone of my über-talent can be human after all. (hide spoiler)]Erik(view spoiler)[I enrolled at Loyola University Chicago, intending, I thought, to wrap up a Ph.D. in short order. It dawned on me in college that I should do some subsidiary reading of fiction. This was one of those subsidiary works, my greatest philosophical concerns being ethical. This book, assigned for Dave Schweickart's Social and Political Philosophy of Literature course, was far and away the most important book I read. Raymond Queneau was someone I had to understand. From the perspective of the class wherein this book was studied, the issue which most exercised the teacher--and, through him, us--was whether or not Queneau fully recognized the socio-linguistic implications of his assumptions and arguments. We were unable to reach a conclusion. (hide spoiler)]Traveller(view spoiler)[What with my fear of spoilers and all, I found that the first story acted as a spoiler for all of the stories that followed it, so half way through the second story I hastily and impulsively shelved the book on my “ain-t-ever-going-to-happen” shelf, where it ain’t ever going to happen, I can assure you of that. (hide spoiler)]Megha(view spoiler)[Completely related aside:This novel reminds me of my visit to MoMA. One of the works of art was '10 million years', basically all the numbers from 1 to 10 million written in 10 fat books. How artistic is that? Did anybody check the books? What if the artist had made a mistake towards the end of a book? On the artist's part, it must have taken a lot of patience and hard-work. It probably fed some sort of obsession of his. But no matter what it meant to him, to me it was just BLAH! I can be quite a lousy museum-goer. This novel is the same. Why these 99 stories? Are they the right stories? Are they the best stories? What did he leave out? Are we being short-changed? But really. Who cares? To me it was just BLAH! I can be quite a lousy reader. At least it wasn't a fat book. (hide spoiler)]Stephen M(view spoiler)[ While they make for an engaging and sometimes hilarious read, these stories also work with an overall conceit within the novel that concerns itself with the problematic relationship between philosophical thinking and human interaction. The characters bear such a close resemblance to their creator, that parsing the differences between intentional and unintentional personality traits imbued in them, and their subsequent significance in the novel, would be an exercise in futility rather than style. There is no doubt that philosophy, as a field of study and practice, takes as its defining characteristic to be critical thinking and a dependence on the foundations of logic. Whether intentional or not, the novel applies the practices of critical thinking and analysis to all aspects of the characters’ relationships with paranoiac intensity. Before I descend further into self-parody, let me pre-empt the reader by saying that a parody of me would just be a rambling, self-conscious, psuedo-philosophical rant with a ton a grammatical mistakes.(hide spoiler)]Manny(view spoiler)[Having read the original French edition, I thought I would translate it into Swedish. I think it was the better for it. Certainly not, thought so. I mean, certainly, not thought so. I incorporated a cryptic but admiring mathematical reference into the preface for not. I have never seen not so humble as when she encountered my dedication while reading quietly in bed.(hide spoiler)]Scribble(view spoiler)[Dammit - you've grabbed the hot seat. I wanted to sit there. Now I'll have to settle for being the stooge who always arrives late bleating on about conflated misandry. So I have all of these big fat post-modernist books I’ve just bought and now I have to review them. How should I begin? I debated in the quiet chambers of my mind many hours how to review this book. No, I’ve used that before. I flung ideas at my ever-patient partner about the dialectic of why I thought what I thought, asking to be challenged because this book is seductive by nature and intellectual by design and how can a reader resist the temptation to attack such a potent combination? No, I’m an anarchist. Nobody will believe me when I use the word “dialectic”. Sitting in the bus, up the back with the other non-conformists, I wrote many opening sentences and discarded those, concocted a structure and buried it under a dense blanket of autobiographical rhetoric which I consigned to the bonfire of my vanity, and considered simply silence, as the excruciating riposte. And so after all this deliberation, I chose silence. I had reached my stop. It was time for me to get off. (hide spoiler)]Paul Bryant(view spoiler)[It says on the back this book is a meditation on the nature of fiction. So, what is fiction? Fiction is when someone gently tugs this book out of your hands and says "You don't need to read this continental crap, dear. You're coming to bed with me." (hide spoiler)]Ian Graye(view spoiler)[Fit Enough to ReadMy wife is the oneWho exercises in style,While I just read books. (hide spoiler)]Riku(view spoiler)[I feel a slight anger towards the author for playing this trick on me, for leading me on into reading the entire book, without giving me anything new which I had not received from the first story. Usually when I decide to read a book, I do it with the knowledge that I will gain something new with each chapter, but Queneau gave me none of that.What I do appreciate about this reading experience is this: as is stated in the novel, anything that happens only once might as well have not happened at all - does it then apply that any novel that consists of less than one story repeated or recurring, might as well have not been written at all? (hide spoiler)]s.penkevich(view spoiler)[ After finishing Raymond Queneau’s “Exercises in Style”, I had to step back awhile before reviewing in fear I would simply come across as an overzealous cheerleader yelling ‘Give me an R!....Give me an A!...Give me a Y!....,etc, etc’. Like a teenage romance, I was so blinded by my love for this collection and author that I wasn’t sure exactly what it was I loved so much, and if this brightly burning passion was distracting me from the flaws and faults that I wouldn’t realize were there until much later. After giving some time to reflect, my overzealousness has hardly died down and, through some helpful and insightful discussions and rereads of the stories with others (I highly recommend reading Garima's wonderfully comprehensive review!), I have not only been able to pinpoint my feelings on the book, but my appreciation has only continued to grow. The stories in this collection, while each varying dramatically at times in terms of style and voice, all seem to reflect upon the psychological implications of existing in the modern era of media and social pressures. Yeah this one was stunning, no, better than that, awesome. My joy is simply ineffable right now.(hide spoiler)]Garima(view spoiler)[It won’t be fair on my part to give stars to this book on a whole. There are 99 different stories written in distinct styles, some of which went well with me and some not so well. So I will give it three stars. But instead of a review, let me tell you a story about the author. Well, it was supposed to be about the author. I saw him many times around here, since I joined the GR Club. Sometimes having tete-a-tete with one of my friends and sometimes being the cynosure of some group discussions. I thought of approaching him on many occasions but I didn’t want to come up as somewhat forward and I wasn’t even sure if he was my TYPE. You see it’s a long term commitment and there are many things I need to be sure about like compatibility and I don’t even know anything about him yet and at the end I don’t wanna make a fool of myself. Then one day I saw him on the bus and he was arguing with an older man. Then he went and sat down in a spare seat. He seemed to be upset, so I worked up the courage to go up and talk to him. I approached him from behind and gently touched his shoulder. At first, he recoiled. Then he saw me and his mood changed. He smiled. It wasn’t Raymond Queneau after all. It was Sven. I turned around just as the older man was getting off the bus. I didn't get a really good look at his face, but if I'm not mistaken, it was Ian Graye. He can't even have a bus trip without getting into an argument with someone. (hide spoiler)]Nathan(view spoiler)[I want those 37 minutes back! This book is awful; a total disaster. I’m sure the author was a very nice guy for a Frog and all but he can’t write worth shit. There is not a single identifiable character in this “novel,” and I mean not just a character I can identify with, but there’s not even a character in here. Well there’s two, but we know nothing more about them at the end than we do at the beginning. And plot? Are you kidding me? There is more plot in “A Postmodern Belch”. Plus it has more headings than an Ian Graye review. Of course I didn’t read the whole thing--I got tired of running to the dictionary every three pages just so I could understand the headings (why does every damn pomo author have to be so egotistical and use words us average readers don’t even know?) Anyone that says they’ve read this whole Exercise (“Vomit” would be more accurate) is a liar. This is worse than The Iliad my teacher forced me to read. (hide spoiler)]Sean Wayne(view spoiler)[Reluctant Cricket DismissalFrom where I stood at midwicket,He sounded caught behind to me.Still, given out by the umpire,With a replay we all could see,He refused to walk off the ground,Fortified by his law degree,He argued toe to toe with allAnd even cursed and swore at me,Until the keeper grabbed his shirtAnd, buttonless, forced him to flee. (hide spoiler)]DJ Ian(view spoiler)[Oh, my Dog, is it any wonder the French no longer have an Empire? Look at this crap, will you? Write one story 99 different ways and call it a novel? You’ve got to be kidding. This reminds me of the production assistant who asked me for a job once. She had a few CV entries that appealed to me, but I’m not allowed to discuss them on air. The big problem was that she, I mean they, said she, I mean they, had 20 years experience. But as soon as I gave her, I mean them, a trial, it turned out that she I mean they had just had one year’s experience, the same year, 20 times. It just doesn't work that way. Give me plot, give me character, give me character development. Fiction is not a chemistry experiment, where you mix up ingredients and hope it [does/doesn’t] blow up in the reader’s face. There is no suspense inherent in repetition. A reader doesn’t want to read something 99 times in the hope that the last time will be different. Give me a break, give me a break dance. Raymond Queneau is the Plastic Bertrand of French Fiction. I’m sorry, France, you should just stick to movies. Your actresses are HOT! HOT! HOT! Work them to the bone. Don’t even worry about your actors. They’re FAT! FAT! FAT! Oh, I forgot, he’s a Russian now. Maybe I should just cross to Rupert for the news. (hide spoiler)]Richard(view spoiler)[Haiku with Word PlayNeeding a button,He argued loudly, after whichHe took affront seat. (hide spoiler)]Rakhi(view spoiler)[ This is definitely one great work :) There is much to be grasped here. Though I won't whole heatedly concur with all of the stories, some of them are great pearls to be cherished :) It can positively alter the thought process once you go beyond the text and try to relate it on a more personal level. It is one of my favorites :) I apologize if I haven't been clearer.(hide spoiler)]Ted(view spoiler)[I have to admit I don't comprehend this book. It seems like the author is retelling the story in the novel. Is that what it is supposed to be? In which case it really has nothing to do with what a conventional book is, but rather is the author's tag-along take on what he has already done?I'm not trying to be critical here, but simply trying to explain why I don't see much in this book that speaks to me. I guess I'm too old and too conventional.(hide spoiler)]Bird Brian(view spoiler)[You can tell that story in 99 chapters? Well, I can tell it in nine, better still, one! I'm sick of Raymond Queneau fans gushing over his economy with words and his simple sentence styles. I can appreciate why that sort of minimalism takes skill to master, but I'm a reader for chrissakes - I want to be told a story, not subjected to a sort of narrative and syntactical bloodletting, experimenting with how many different ways we can tell the same story and still have it live. Nobody swoons over the latest car that looks like every other damned car on the road. Nobody runs around recommending their friends to try out the new burger joint in town that gives you the same fascist shit as the Golden Arches. I want content! Narrative abundance! I want to be entertained!! I'll take Proust's runon cumulative sentences over Queneau's narrative and locutional anemia any day. (hide spoiler)]Steve(view spoiler)[ Interest in random text generation appears to have begun with the famous, though untested, proposition that an infinite number of monkeys with infinite time at their keyboards would ultimately reproduce Shakespeare. Of course, pure randomness without some kind of structure is a highly inefficient path toward literary art. Plus, the process is just as likely to produce piggy porn as it is to emulate Queneau (granting, for our purposes, that there is a distinction to be made). While the exact algorithm used by Queneau (1981) to produce “Exercises in Style” (henceforth EIS) was never documented, we contend that the method proposed in this review is, on average, in a repeated sampling context, observationally equivalent. As is true of any simulation, there is a deterministic component and a random component. Simulated paths will vary, but the statistical distributions from which the stochastic terms are sampled match those of EIS.(hide spoiler)]Praj(view spoiler)[Was I searching for such lust when I entered the bus? I knew the recognizable twinge springing through my warm body when I saw this book laying amid the boisterous articles on the vacant bus seat; the quintessential oddball novel. I had devoured it once, in one sitting or was it between my silken sheets with that night’s sorry lover? Was I truly prepared for the experience once again? Ecstasy swayed in my cold perspiration. The unbearable sighs in the offing for a consequential release; the chronic tapping of feet on the cold floor of the slow riding bus; was I geared up for all? The thought of “Exercises in Style” was more pleasurable than diamond fields and spouter whales. A strange man was just a few breaths away and audaciously gawking at my hand which was meantimes venturing its wiry way between my legs. Politely, I excuse myself from his offered help and dash out of the bus hoping I do not see him again. I realise I have left the book on the bus seat. I chase the bus afterwards, until the next stop where it unloads that cute American girl I’ve spoken to a few times and she is holding a copy of said book. I follow her... (hide spoiler)]Aubrey(view spoiler)[Give me a bus ride compromised by emotion, drugs, unreliable narrators spilling their guts to a psychedelic riddle that crosses consciousness and space-time continuum. Give me a French bus driver, chain smoking and complaining about the President’s celebrity wife. Give me Lolita. Give me American Psycho. Give me unrelenting displays of cruelty and abuse and subsequent coping mechanisms whose effects are just as vicious as their causes, and sprinkle them with laugh out loud moments clouded by the memories of the aforementioned atrocities. Give me David Foster Wallace. Give me recognition that the brain is an organ just as unwieldy and unreliable as the heart or the kidney, and thinking your way out of something is sometimes the worst possible decision you could ever make. Give me Kafka. Give me the paragon of masculinity breaking down into snotty sobs in front of an openly weeping crowd of fellow human beings, in a transport system that cannot possibly work until it does. Give me Thomas Mann. Give me the revival of hope in mankind, embodied in the briefest touch between one masquerading as the dregs of society, and one unaware of their hopeless plight to a heartrending degree. Give me China Mieville. Give me the type of author who has weird and fantastical dreams that all too easily dip into nightmares and back again, undergoing a number of cycles in a single night. Dreams that he can't help writing down to share with the rest of us. Give me miscommunication on a truly horrendous scale, conversers following their own narratives with minuscule attention paid to their conversees, many pairs of these circling in a bus with no clear and singular "plot". Give me something Gallic, some book that is just so right for this France, this Paris, this creative beacon that teems with contagious culture and ridiculous fashions to this very day, one that can be silly but is often so very, very brave. Give me a book that contains a Truth that will have its way with me that I didn't realize I desperately craved until I am lying on the floor, breathless and aching with tears flowing freely down my cheeks, stunned in the realization that I am not the only one in the room and, yes, oh my God, that adorable Indian woman who I have seen a few times on the short bus, Praj, is beside me. She smiles. She inspects my vulnerability with a professional but slightly perverse gaze. She lifts her hand, moves it slowly, suggestively, sensuously, sibilantly, towards me, and, oh oh, she rests it gently on my book. Then, without further ado, she rises and is gone from my room. So is the book. Yet again, I have found myself lost in alliteration. (hide spoiler)]

  • Megha
    2019-02-11 18:42

    Pearls before a swine? Perhaps.It definitely takes a lot of talent for someone to tell one completely unremarkable story 99 times and still make a fun and readable book out of it. What Queneau (and the translator) has done here is really clever work, no doubt. And I can imagine this whole exercise must have been very amusing for him. But that doesn't mean reading it will be just as enjoyable as writing it was.**These are exercises in writing in English (originally French). I do have some working knowledge of English, but nowhere enough to understand the nuances of the language. I actually had to look up some of the chapter titles in the dictionary, most of which were technical terms related to linguistics and grammar. Being illiterate in literary matters, I may not always be able to appreciate writing proficiency. I read for fun, not for 99 exercises in reading!People who have a better eye for word play, will probably enjoy this book better.My rating for this book kept fluctuating throughout. There are some chapters for which I will easily give solid five stars. But then there are others which seem entirely nonsensical and impractical. No one will ever use them for any real writing. Also, writing style needs to be suitable to the content. Some of the styles seem forced. Then there a bunch of chapters which were perhaps added just to bring the number to 99.- Add/remove a sound to/from beginning/middle/end of each word - permutations of nth alphabets/wordsThese already make more than 10 chapters.Another clever thing Queneau did was to keep the chapters very short. Otherwise I would have skipped many of them after reading only a few sentences to figure out the style.In case anyone is wondering what the story is, here it is, in Interjections style: "Psst! h'm! ah! oh! hem! ah! ha! hey! well! oh! pooh! poof! ow! oo! ouch! hey! eh! h'm! pffft!Well! hey! pooh! oh! h'm! right!" ** Completely unrelated aside :This reminds me of my visit to MoMA. One of the works of art was '10 million years', basically all the numbers from 1 to 10 million written in 10 fat books. On the artist's part, it must have taken a lot of patience and hard-work. It probably fed some sort of obsession of his. But no matter what it meant to him, to me it was just BLAH! I can be quite a lousy museum-goer.

  • Elina
    2019-02-11 12:36

    Ενα εξαιρετικά πρωτότυπο ανάγνωσμα όπου ο συγγραφέας χρησιμοποιεί 99 διαφορετικούς τρόπους να εκφράσει μια ανούσια μικρή ιστορία. Μπορεί κανείς να το διαβάσει σε 10 διαφορετικά μέρη, σαλόνι, κουζίνα, αναγνωστήριο, τουαλέτα κλπ. καθώς και με άπειρους τρόπους ανάσκελα, καθιστά, όρθια, τρέχοντας, περπατώντας κλπ. Πολύ ενδιαφέρον αν κάποιος σκέφτεται να ξεκινήσει τη συγγραφή βιβλίου ή να κάνει καριέρα στην πολιτική. Εν κατακλείδι το ξεκίνησα με μεγάλη χαρά και ενδιαφέρον, κάπου στη μέση άρχισα να γυρνάω τις σελίδες λίγο πιο γρήγορα και στο τέλος είχα εμπαιδώσει σε άριστο βαθμό την πραγματικά παντελώς ανούσια ιστορία. Πέρα από την πλάκα αξίζει να διαβαστεί...

  • Drew
    2019-02-07 19:41

    I feel like this book's high average rating is caused mostly by the fact that the only people who would even know about it are the sort of people who'd like it. So, though I didn't hate it completely, I'm here to offer a dissenting opinion:This book kind of sucks. It's a short, anticlimactic anecdote about a scuffle on a bus, told in 99 different styles. I imagine this is already enough to turn off most people, but in case this still sounds really good to you, be apprised that none of those styles actually include anything that would ordinarily be considered "good" writing. At best, it's parody of purple prose; at worst, complete nonsense. Several "styles" are just lopping off the beginning of the words (apheresis), or cutting the ends short (apocope), or, hell, just removing the middle (syncope). Allow me to just quote, in increasing order of offensiveness:from Philosophic: "great cities alone can provide phenomenological spirituality with the essentialities of temporal and improbabilistic coincidences."from Noble: "the hour when the rosy fingers of the dawn started to crack I climbed, rapid as a tongue of flame, into a bus, mighty of stature and with cow-like eyes, of the S-line of sinuous course."from Prosthesis: "ga shat kwith va splaited acord xinstead yof va cribbon cround pit."from Permutations by groups of 5, 6, 7, and 8 letters: "lyhest sudden oharan artedt neighb guehis imingt ourcla urpose hathep onhist lytrod rytime oeseve gotino anyone rout." (spell-checker is working overtime tonight)I'm not being entirely fair here; some of the little sections are decent ideas, decently written, describing the situation only in terms of smell, or taste, or whatever. But for the majority of the others, I can think of only a few possible motivations for their existence:A) Queneau needed some filler, because the 10 or so good ones don't constitute full-book material.B) Queneau wanted to show off his Greek. (viz. epenthesis, metathesis, paragoge, homeoptotes, polyptotes)C) Queneau is trying to distract us from the fact that he's not actually a good writer.Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that it's all better in theory. You read "Prosthesis" and think, hmm, that's interesting, I wonder what he's going to do here. Then you see he's just tacking a single random letter onto the front of every word. Do you read it to the end? There's nothing interesting about it; you already know the story and you've figured out this so-called "style." So you skip it, only to realize that if you do that with each one, you're skipping 80 percent of the book. But so be it. One more quote for the road:"An houate aftrate, in front of the Saint-Lazate gate, I notate him agate, talkate about a buttate, a buttate on his overcate."

  • Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
    2019-01-26 14:35

    (reread 09/13/15)The English translation better be good, because this? This is brilliant. "Il y avait aujourd'hui dans l'autobus à côté de moi, sur la plate-forme, un de ces morveux comme on n'en fait guère, heureusement, sans ça je finirais par en tuer un." PS. I would love to write my review as Raymond Queneau, that is to say, using several literacy techniques to relate the same story over and over and over again, but let's face it : my English needs improvement before.

  • Hadrian
    2019-01-31 16:56

    The premise of this book is simple - a little anecdote about a man on a bus, a story so bland that you wouldn't even put it into your cycle of small talk. This book is not bland because the execution is dazzling. Queneau tells the same story in over a hundred different ways, ranging from Operatic English to Tanka to onomatopoeia to set theory to high art to Cockney slang.Such a book would normally be untranslatable, and there are some noticeable changes from the original. Cockney slang is a substitute for 'Vulgaire', and the rhyming poetic couplets in the Alexandrine style have likely lost much of their glimmer. But despite all this, Queneau is not only witty, but he is accomplished in his diversity, coming up with even more ridiculous permutations to stretch the limits of language. This is a new edition with ninety-nine original exercises, some twenty-odd unpublished additions, and some original contributions in nihilist, metaliterary, Beat, or cyberpunk styles. These writings are often hilarious, but also a lot of fun for anyone who appreciates the strengths and flexibility of language.

  • Lubinka Dimitrova
    2019-01-30 13:54

    So, as it turns out, I've read the book in 8th grade, and found it so awesome, that I wrote down in my diary some of the story renderings.This time around, not so much. Eventually, I grew tired and I didn't really finish the book. But I suppose that's the sad fate of re-reading old favorites...(Loved the illustrations though!)

  • Reckoner
    2019-01-21 19:01

    Ουτε ένας ουτε δύο ουτε τρείς αλλα 99 τρόποι για να πεις μια οχι ενδιαφέρουσα, οχι ιδιαίτερη αλλα καθημερινή ιστορία που βρίθει οχι απο λύπη, στεναχώρια, δέος αλλα απο έξυπνο, αβίαστο, εκλεπτυσμένο χιούμορ. (Μόλις χρησιμοποίησα τον ένα απο τους 99 τρόπους για την κριτική αυτού του απολαυστικού διαμαντιού που μας αποκαλύπτει την δύναμη που έχει η γλώσσα.)

  • Yoana
    2019-02-05 13:59

    СОФИЙСКОНачи бате, качвам се в рейса неска по обед, щото бегах от даскало. И вътре, бате, некъв гъз – ама тъп ти казвам, дигна некъв ебати скандала, бате. Били го бутали, ми в рейса кво иска. Вика, вика и избега да седне, бате, казвам ти, пълен гъз. Към 5, бехме се направили на гъз с френдовете, и се връщам пак с рейса, бате, и гледам оня същия гъз пред Попа с некъв същия като него, бате – и оня: „Аре опраи се бе, глей къв си изсулен”. Пълен шит, бате, казвам ти. БУРГАСКОКо стаа ве лек! Въй, лек, неска ако знайш ко стана... Начи по обяд се качвам аз в 211, ама фраш ти казвам, лек! И точно до мене, отпреде, някво лице, ама ако знайш колко прост, въййй! 100 на 100 беше от Меден рудник, лек. С няква тъпа шапка с конче. И почна да кряка някъв, да се репчи на няква нацепена батка до него. Обаче като стана напечена работата, се покри някъде отзаде на рейса. После в 5 часа, лек, ходя си аз по Александровска и на Часовника гледам същото лице с някъв маняк, дето му разправя да се барнел по-така, че не бил достатъчно натокан. Яката работа, лек! ПОЛИТИЧЕСКИ КОРЕКТНОДнес по обяд в един автобус от обществения транспорт със запълнен капацитет случайно попаднах в близкостоящо положение до две личности, едната над 20те, а другата около 40те години, и двете в разцвета на силите си. Първата личност, която беше с по-висок от средния ръст, изрази с малко по-висок от средното тон несъгласието си с действията на втората, които окачестви като причиняващи известен дискомфорт на долните му крайници, като изказа предположение, че тези действия не са напълно непреднамерени. След като изложи мнението си в завършен вид, първата личност отиде да заеме едно освободило се място, като не прояви специално отношение към други пътници по полов или възрастов признак с опит да им отстъпи това място. Няколко часа по-късно случайно попаднах на същата личност на един площад, разхождаща се с друга личност, която може да му е била колкото приятел или колега, толкова и интимен партньор. Втората личност предложи съвет на първата относно връхната му дреха, който беше безпристрастен и непредизвикан от патриархални представи за мъжественост в облеклото.

  • Vit Babenco
    2019-02-14 17:50

    What story can be told about a brief bus ride and a button?It can be turned into a surreal vision:“In the centre of the day, tossed among the shoal of travelling sardines in a coleopter with a big white carapace, a chicken with a long, feather-less neck suddenly harangued one, a peace-abiding one, of their number, and its parlance, moist with protest, was unfolded upon the airs. Then, attracted by a void, the fledgling precipitated itself thereunto.In a bleak, urban desert, I saw it again that selfsame day, drinking the cup of humiliation offered by a lowly button.”And it can be turned into a philosophical thesis:“Great cities alone can provide phenomenological spirituality with the essentialities of temporal and improbabilistic coincidences. The philosopher who occasionally ascends into the futile and utilitarian inexistentiality of an S bus can perceive therein with the lucidity of his pineal eye the transitory and faded appearance of a profane consciousness afflicted by the long neck of vanity and the hatly plait of ignorance. This matter, void of true entelechy, occasionally plunges into the categorical imperative of its recriminatory life force against the neo-Berkleyan unreality of a corporeal mechanism unburdened by conscience. This moral attitude then carries the more unconscious of the two towards a void spatiality where it disintegrates into its primary and crooked elements.Philosophical research is then pursued normally by the fortuitous but anagogic encounter of the same being accompanied by its inessential and sartorial replica, which is noumenally advising it to transpose on the level of the understanding the concept of overcoat button situated sociologically too low.”And also it may be turned into so many other smart things…The skill and style can turn any negligible trifle into a masterpiece.In literature there are no bad themes, there are bad writers.

  • Ajeje Brazov
    2019-02-13 19:59

    Esercizi di stile, sono appunto 99 esercizi che l'autore ha fatto per la stesura di un libro. Qui, nello specifico, l'esempio che fa è su una semplice situazione quotidiana che può succedere a chiunque...Di certo è un libro adatto agli addetti ai lavori, cioè scrittori, giornalisti, ecc... direi che questo libretto sia molto prezioso soprattutto per gli scrittori esordienti o per chi sia in crisi creativa.A me, che non sono un addetto ai lavori, è risultato a tratti divertente, a tratti disorientante (soprattutto per quegli esercizi di cui non ne sapevo nulla). Nel complesso, comunque, un libro che merita una lettura almeno nella vita. Per chi ama i libri, la letteratura e tutto ciò che sta dietro alla stesura di un'opera letteraria, questo libro è imprescindibile.

  • Mark Hebwood
    2019-02-05 20:53

    Le côté subjectifI liked my time with this book. When I did not know a rhetoric form Raymond referred to (which was often), I looked it up on the internet and tried to figure out how it related to the specific style of the exercise in question. When I got to the more abstruse linguistic games, I started wondering how these could ever be translated into other languages, so I bought the English and German versions of the book and played my own game of contrast and compare. And when I finished the book, I started wondering what the basic story amongst the 99 exercises was, indeed, whether it was possible to identify one at all, and how style and content relate in a work of literature.In short, I had a great time. Raymond's exercises got me thinking about all manner of things, and I had a few days of intellectual fireworks (not my own, more like an appreciation of Raymond's). And for that, the book gets a bonus star. Which also means that the exercises themselves only got three stars. In fact, when I look at each exercise as a standalone story, it turns out that I loved 35% (>4 stars), did not like 32% (<2 stars), and simply liked the rest. But I disliked 14%, and thought only 3% were amazing, so the distribution is slightly skewed towards the left (the 1-3 stars). This is not the case for the English translation, where my distribution is more "normal". And yes, I am perfectly aware that those of my GR friends who read this review up to this point have now (1) stopped reading and (2) unfriended me. Rating 198 exercises separately, and commenting on the skewness of the distribution you are getting, is of course an entirely nerdy, and unfashionable, thing to do. Still, nerdy I may be, but at least I am in good company: Nicolas Saulais, who contributed an essay on Oulipo to my French edition of the text, says that a true Oulipien combines the account with the count, "il aime conter et compter" (p149).So there. Still, you say? Raymond did that brilliantly, and I am just a git? Hm. Fair cop, unfortunately. So moving swiftly to the next bit...TranslationMy French copy is based on the 1947 original, but Raymond must have published a different version at a later stage. Barbara Wright's English translation must be based on that edition, as it contains some exercises that are not in the original, and does not contain some that are.But whatever version Barbara translated, she did so brilliantly. Not only did she find ingenious ways to transfer Raymond's linguistic puzzles into English, she also did the job with charm and esprit, and even found time to leave some "Easter Eggs" dotted around the text. These gems only come to light if you read the French and English versions side by side, and I wont spoil the fun other than saying that the ones I found are in "Cockney" (her rendering of "Vulgaire") and "Reported Speech" (a freshly invented exercise to replace "Passé Simple", which of course does not exist in the English language).The German translation by Ludwig Harig und Eugen Helmlé is also good, but follows the original with less inventiveness. If anything, it highlights precisely the limits imposed on a translation of a text which plays so brilliantly with the linguistic structure of its native language.SurprisesBut not everything Raymond did was brilliant! I was surprised to find instances where I think he made mistakes, and others where it looks as if he missed a trick. Although it is similar to a dwarf teaching a giant how to leap, I would still like to record my disappointment with some minor bits and pieces. For example, in "Précisions", he gives precise measurements of everything, but then slips up when he says that the annoying guy in the story goes and sits down "quelque 2 m 10 de lâ / about 1.1 m away" (p.20; 15, my emphasis). This is the only approximation in the exercise, and it stands out like the proverbial sore thumb (and yes, also odd why Barbara would change the number).Or "Litotes", an exercise which does not appear to use the rhetoric form named in its title at all. In "Synchyses", an exercise in which the narrator speaks like Yoda from Star Wars, Raymond should have tried to be more consistent with the rhetoric form, and apply it to relative clauses as well as to main ones. Less funny than it could have been because of that it turned out to be.But these are pathetic quibbles of a lesser mind. The exercises bristle with inventiveness, perception and originality, and I love them.ExclamationsIt would take far too long to mention all my favourites! So I'll only give you a few.Just read out loud, to yourself, "Homéotéleutes", for example. This does not work in English, but in French it is masterful.Another one of these is "Homophonique", and again I am afraid in English (or German) you only get word salad. But in French, you'll have a truly subtle experience. In French, what is written down on the page is absolute rubbish, but as you read the exercise (out loud), you are pronouncing something that makes perfect sense! The simultaneous clash between what your eyes see and what your ears hear makes for a truly weird, and subtle reading experience.But dont take my word for it. Here's an example: "Ange ouvert m'y dit". Looks like rubbish? Just read it out loud. Did you just say "Un jour vers midi"? Yea good innit? And actually, this is even more subtle. Because sense the phrase may well not make (I really liked that synchysis exercise) but it still takes the form of a grammatically well-formed sentence in French. If it does not mean anything it is because the words do not carry meaning when put together in this way, and also because they do not exist in the form required by the structure of the phrase (An "open angel tells me there" is nonsense semantically, and the word "tell" cannot be transitive). And Raymond keeps this going perfectly throughout the exercise. This, I think, is genius.And there are many more like this, and many others that are witty, intelligent, or penetrating in other ways. If you are a bit playful, love to puzzle stuff out, and love language, I can only recommend this little gem. You will have a few days of pure esoteric enjoyment!This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

  • Junta
    2019-02-12 19:40

    I think this is a book that should be read in its original language of French. I loved the idea of this book, but my expectations were perhaps a little too high. The low rating is not the book's fault, but my goddamn own - excuse my (lack of) French. On a crowded bus at midday, the narrator observes one man accusing another of jostling him deliberately. When a seat is vacated, the first man takes it. Later, in another part of town, the man is spotted again while being advised by a friend to have another button sewn onto his overcoat.The same story is told 99 times, in 99 different literary styles, ranging from metaphoric to mathematical formula, onomatopoeia to official letter, Pig Latin to paragoge. What a creative work! Here are a couple of humorous snippets:MetaphoricalAt the very heart of the day, tossed among the shoal of travelling sardines in a white-bellied beetle, a chicken with a long, featherless neck suddenly harangued one of their number, a peace-abiding one, and its parlance, moist with protest, was unleashed into the air. Then, attracted by an empty space, the fledgling made a dash towards it.In a bleak, urban desert, I saw it again that selfsame day, drinking the cup of humiliation over a mere button.TactileBuses are soft to the touch, especially if you take them between the thighs and caress them with both hands, from the head towards the tail, from the engine towards the platform.For ze FreinetcheOine deille abahoute middeille, Aï gotte inetou a basse ouitche oise goïngue ine zi directionne ove zi Porte Champerret. Ite oise foule, nirlie. Aï gotte ine aule ze séïme ainede Aï seau a manne ine ite hou hade a longue necque ainede a hatte ouise a sorte ove platède corde rahounde ite. Zisse manne gotte aingrie ouise a tchappe hou oise traidingue onne hise tose, ainede zène ouènete ainede satte dahoune.A bitte léïteur Aï seau hime againe ine fronte ove ze Gare Saint-Lazare ouise a danedie hou oise advaïzingue hime tou mouve hise oveurcote batonne a litteule bitte ayère eup.I plan to read Zazie in the Metro by the same author (the co-founder of Oulipo) since I don't have particular reservations against reading prose works in translation. But with works like these, and poetry, I'll be thinking twice. Or 99 times.Don't be dissauded from reading this in a language other than French, though - for the English, for example, Barbara Wright has done a splendid job. For this edition, the foreword by Umberto Eco (who translated it into Italian), and the 20 pages of notes on Queneau penned by Calvino (who I hadn't yet read when I read this!) were quality reads too.May 5, 2015

  • Aldrin
    2019-01-28 14:00

    On Exercices de Style, considered his masterpiece and most influential work, Raymond Queneau said, “People have tried to see it as an attempt to demolish literature--that was not at all my intention. In any case my intention was merely to produce some exercises; the finished product may possibly act as a kind of rust-remover to literature to help to rid it of some of its scabs. If I’ve been able to contribute a little to this, then I am very proud, especially if I have done it without boring the reader too much.” Why people would accuse the French writer and founding member of Oulipo, the famous and exclusive group dedicated to constrained writing, of destroying no less than the thing to which he so strongly adhered was not really difficult to see. Their disagreement with Exercices de Style was borne out. The same story, about a brief and petty quarrel between two passengers in a bus, one of whom is later seen in a train station with a friend who advises him about the perceived necessity of adjusting a button on his overcoat, told 99 times, each in a different style, is what makes up Queneau’s unusual book. It’s a story of no consequence, devoid of any inherent element of interest, so why tell it over and over again? What’s the point if not to compose a parody of literature and bore readers out? As Queneau himself pointed out, his basic objective was simply to come up with a number of exercises. And like any set of exercises, Queneau’s was realized for a specific purpose: to examine the possibilities and formal properties not exactly of literature but its very lifeblood, language. Queneau’s collection was, of course, originally written in French, and naturally many of his variations contain details that are specific to his native language. For a long while this was viewed as a major deterrent by potential translators. Certainly it’s hard enough translating a highly regarded work penned in French, or in any foreign language for that matter, let alone reconstructing its unique twists and turns in a manner that results in a version that preserves the essence of the original. But the late Barbara Cartwright boldly took on the task of translating Exercices de Style to English, though not after overcoming her initial reservations, which she shared in her preface to Exercises in Style, published in 1958, just over a decade after the release of the French original: “I thought that the book was an experiment with the French language as such, and therefore as unstranslateable as the smell of garlic in the Paris metro. But I was wrong, in the same way as the story as such doesn’t matter, the particular language it is written in doesn’t matter as such.” And how! To date the book has been published in more than two dozen languages, with Wright’s English translation arguably the most popular. Here’s Wright’s rendition of the basic story, told in the straightforward manner of a narrative:One day at about midday in the Parc Monceau district, on the back platform of a more or less full S bus (now No. 84), I observed a person with a very long neck who was wearing a felt hat which had a plaited cord round it instead of a ribbon. This individual suddenly addressed the man standing next to him, accusing him of purposely treading on his toes every time any passengers got on or got off. However he quickly abandoned the dispute and threw himself on to a seat which had become vacant.Two hours later I saw him in front of the gare Saint-Lazare engaged in earnest conversation with a friend who was advising him to reduce the space between the lapels of his overcoat by getting a competent tailor to raise the top button. Now here’s the same story told using mathematical terms: In a rectangular parallepiped moving along a line representing an integral solution of the second-order differential equation:      y + PPTB(x)y + S = 84 two homoids (of which only one, the homoid A, manifests a cylindrical element of length L>N encircled by two sine waves of period immediately below its crowning hemisphere) cannot suffer point contact at their lower extremities without proceeding upon divergent courses. The oscillation of two homoids tangentially to the above trajectory has as a consequence the small but significant displacement of all significantly small spheres tangential to a perpendicular of length IIn haiku form: Summer S long neck plait hat toes abuse retreat station button friend And through a series of interjections: Psst! h'm! ah! oh! hem! ah! ha! hey! well! oh! pooh! poof! ow! oo! ouch! hey! eh! h'm! pffft! Well! hey! pooh! oh! h'm! right! Exercises in Style retains Queneau’s quotidian tale and the majority of the literary tropes and storytelling devices he exploits in the source material, while it loosely adapts the rest of the styles, which are apparently far too tricky and reliant on the distinctions of the French language to be faithfully interpreted. But just the same, Exercises in Style offers a satisfying if overwhelming medley of modes lending a propulsive quality to an otherwise dull story and rooted in the diversity of speech, prose, poetry, grammar, rhetoric, jargon, personality, and perspective. What’s more, it’s so darn funny, even as some of the stylistic mutations are too clever for their own good. Ninety-nine versions of the same boring story don’t necessarily mean one boring book. On reflection, Exercises in Style is made up of 99 variations of the same joke, told with a different punchline each time.

  • Deepthi
    2019-02-17 12:56

    What makes a good story? Plot, characters or structure? Maybe the stories we enjoy aren’t enjoyable because of its components, maybe they are enjoyable because of the way they were written or told. A good narrator is incredibly important to catch our attention and interest as long as the story lasts, otherwise there is a chance of being misled or left disheartened. What Raymond Queneau brings you in Exercises in Style is a set of 99 narrators; each equally amusing, entertaining and knowledgeable. In addition to that, this edition also includes unpublished exercises, exercises published outside of Exercises in Style and 10 exercises written as homage to Raymond Queneau by various writers.The plot of the story is simple; mundane even, almost boring if you hear it from a friend as an anecdote. Most likely, that is exactly what your reaction might be when you read the first narration. “That was it?,” you will find yourself asking out loud. But once you turn the page and read the next narration, and the next, you will understand what Queneau is trying to do and how bizarrely genius of a work it is. He beautifully deconstructs the story and reconstructs it again using a different styles of writing and every single time manages to keep it humorous. For me, the image of the narrator changed with every narration and it definitely boosted the joy involved in this reading experience. With each exercise, the narrator changed clothes, personality, occupation, tone, language and voice. How brilliant is that! This witty shape-shifting narrator should be enjoyed with a dose of few exercises at a time, otherwise it might lead to brain-indigestion and cause a brain-ache, which is definitely not healthy for you as a reader, nor it is fair towards Queneau while passing a quick judgement on Exercises in Style. So yes, read it for some twist and some irregularity. It is quirky, funny, short and has some (a lot of) great new words and writing styles to learn about (and to reference the same later just to sound smart in front of your friends). The translation is extremely well done and I can only imagine how brilliant it might have been in its original French text.

  • [P]
    2019-01-25 20:39

    ThoughtfulMy reaction to books like Raymond Queneau’s Exercises In Style is comparable to my reaction when faced with certain works of conceptual, or modern, art, such as, for example, Martin Kippenberger’s Wittgenstein. What I mean by this is that the enjoyment I derive from them is superficial, is immediate but not long-lasting; in fact, I tend to find equal or greater enjoyment in the concepts or ideas being described to me as I do in experiencing them myself.To my mind, the most basic pre-requisite for any good novel is that once you’ve picked it up it makes you want to continue reading it. However, Exercises in Style did quite the opposite: it implored me to put it down. The preface has it that ‘[The author’s] purpose in the Exercises is, I think, a profound exploration into the possibilities of language. It is an experiment in the philosophy of language.’ A profound exploration into the possibilities of language? Come on. It’s clever at best; a Nabokov wet-dream.Professional journalismRaymond Queneau’s critically acclaimed novel, Exercises in Style, is like Martin Kippenberger’s Wittgentstein dancing the mazurka with Vladimir Nabokov, while trapped in a lift.SarcasticOh it is really great. Absolutely thrilling too. I cannot think of a single book that has entertained me quite as much as Exercises in Style. Didn’t bore me at all, oh no. Made me think of Kippenberger’s Wittgenstein, which is the highest compliment I can pay anything, because that shelving unit is mind-blowing. I mean, just…wow. I could stare at it for hours, while contemplating the meaning of the universe. That’s how profound a statement it is…a shelving unit, painted grey. Well, fuck me sideways. Nabokov would probably have got a huge kick out of it. I know he liked Exercises in Style. Vlad had impeccable taste. He hated Faulkner, for a start, who was obviously rubbish. Old Bill could only have dreamt of writing something with as much substance as Queneau’s novel. What is The Sound and The Fury? Complete pap, obviously. He should have written a book in 99 different styles, and then maybe he would have the same lofty reputation as the author of this masterpiece.Auditory[]Gay EroticaI fondled the cover, pressing lightly with the tips of my fingers, before gently pulling the book apart until it opened wide. I entered it slowly, almost tentatively sliding inside, trying to control my breathing. As I found my rhythm, I worked my way in deeper and deeper. Metaphorical!, Raymond screamed. I quickened my pace, pushed on harder and harder. Free verse! Sweat appeared on my brow. It rolled down my face and dripped onto a page. Ah-ah-ah-asides! I was starting to think Raymond was enjoying this more than I was. I thought of Martin, that difficult German man with whom I’d once had the briefest of [email protected] Just finished your book #shitPoetryO Raymond, Raymond Queneau,I read your little book, y’know.I wish I hadn’t bothered though.O Raymond, Raymond Queneau!O Raymond, Raymond Queneau,Should’ve learned my lesson long ago,For I’ve never been a fan of Ouilpo.O Raymond, Raymond Quenau!TelegraphicRAYMOND QUENEAU STOPHorrorI was once lost in the dark, foreboding corridors of a German art gallery. My heart beating with fear I turned a corner and there saw, not a genuine work of art, but a shelving unit…painted fog-grey. O Martin Kippenberger! What monstrous urge compelled you to create such a thing? What madness? I stumbled before the great grey beast, which loomed over me like a nightmare…and then I ran, sure that it was chasing me, and ever gaining ground.As the years passed I put my experience in the German art gallery down to an overactive imagination. Until the night I opened Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style. There is was again! The grey shelving unit. O of course it wasn’t actually there on the page, but it was still there, don’t you see? The shelving unit leapt from the book and bore down on me, like an ugly old house, in which something evil lurks, something horribly reminiscent of…boredom. I tried to clap it shut, but my hands would not move; there was a resistance coming from the book itself. Suddenly a voice rang out in my room: 'You must finish it! It is a profound exploration into the possibilities of language. It is an experiment in the philosophy of language!'PictorialFormalTo whom it may concern,I am writing to you regarding my recent experience of reading Exercises in Style by Raymond Queneau. I had been promised ‘a profound exploration into the possibilities of language,’ which this product entirely failed to deliver. Therefore, I consider it my duty to compose a review of the book in question in order to highlight its many faults. In doing so I hope to warn other potential readers against making the kind of rash and ill-informed purchase that I did myself.Yours sincerely,[P]CrudeThis book is fucking shit.Crude [Third person]He thought the book was fucking shit.

  • MJ Nicholls
    2019-01-26 17:34

    * Edit: May 13 2011 *I finally bought a copy of this ingenious little number and read it through again. I think my favourite mode has to be ‘Reactionary,’ where the narrator makes angry pronouncements on the world around him while telling the bus altercation story. It wasn’t as funny the second time around, but nothing ever is, sadly. I looked up some of the more specific verse forms that escaped me on the first read and smiled more knowingly. (A more knowing smile involves greater purchase on the lip-corners). There is an error in this translation, however: in the groups of three-letter words, there’s one two-letter word in there. Not a massive oversight, but precision was probably Queneau’s watchword, so someone should be fired for that. I vote for Alan Sugar. (That's Donald Trump for my American friends). Oneworld Classics have also brought out a new edition of The Sunday of Life, and We Always Treat Women Too Well is in the pipeline.

  • knig
    2019-01-19 17:42

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  • Whitaker
    2019-01-30 19:42

    This was The Well-Tempered Clavier, but in writing. Given its status and how loved this book seems to be on GR, I feel somewhat like it’s an epic F.A.I.L on my part to not have been blown away by it. But seriously, guys, I don’t get it. It’s clever, I’ll give you that. Other than that, it’s mostly gimmicky, sometimes amusing, and occasionally interesting. I liked the episodes rewritten as told by a yokel or in mangled French as spoken by an English person (amusing), as well as the episodes rewritten as haiku or from a different perspective (interesting). But rewriting the episode in the mode of “Surprise”?Wow! I actually got on the bus today! The S-line, would you believe?! Amazing yes? It was so packed too!!In the mode of “Precision”?At 5.32 and 34 seconds, I entered a vehicle 15.65 metres in length and 2.34 metres wide used to carry passengers from Place de la Concorde to Place d’Austerlitz. The vehicle could carry 100 adult passengers standing and 62 passengers sitting, and when I entered there were 62 adults (30 men and 32 women) already seated and another 78 adults (30 women and 48 men) and 14 children (10 boys and 4 girls) standing.*Other similar gimmicks were “Rainbow” (where the word for each colour in the spectrum of a rainbow was used in the text) and “Greek” (where words with Greek roots replaced their normal cognates). Clever, yes, definitely clever. But interesting? Amusing? Nope. The whole idea is way more cool in concept than in execution, and (bitch remark for the day) maybe that’s where it should have remained. *I’m quoting from memory somewhat liberally.

  • Eddie Watkins
    2019-02-04 14:37

    This shames me to say but I was not originally on the bus with Queneau's Exercises in Style, yet I pretended to be, sitting right beside the dude with the long neck and the eccentric hat. I was not being myself, not beating my own drum, passengers stepping all over my feet, but I could not get off the bus. Shamed if I did, shamed if I didn't. So I sat there reading his proper novels, genuinely enjoying them as the bus jostled and my feet hurt and the long neck irked me. Damn sheepish passengers! - I thought - liking Exercises in Style because all the booknerdy hipsters like it, while, of course, I was the one living the lie. Why could I not get into it? I did not know so I rode around in a party on a bus because I was ashamed to get off, and gave it 4 stars to pretend I liked it, while all the true believers continued stepping on my aching feet. Soon I couldn't get off even if I mustered the courage to do so, my feet hurt so. So I rode for years and years until one day I looked out and saw the dude with the long neck peering in a bookstore window, and in the window was propped a copy of a new edition of Exercises in Style, and I liked the scrambled photo of Queneau on the cover much better than the old doodle cover, and I liked the inclusion of Queneau's own "b-sides" and other exercises, and I liked the inclusion of contemporary variations of the exercises by some authors I respected. So I got off the bus and bought it, only to find myself right back on the bus, only this time I was truly part of the party, stepping on the feet of the pretenders and nay-sayers and wanting to ride shamelessly forever.

  • Adam Floridia
    2019-02-12 16:01

    A million points for creativity, I'll give it that. A short, two paragraph vignette repeated 99 times, but each in a different style really illustrates the protean (and fun!) nature of language. There have been quite a few books that have caused me while reading to think "If I ever teach a creative writing class, I've got to use this!" Well this book actually coerced me into creating a new shelf "to-assign-in-creative-writing-class." Happy New Year! Will it be a Happy New Year? Miserable Old Days! Appyhay Ewnay Earyay! A Rosy Fingered Dawn Smiles Upon the Awakening of a Freshly Birthed Year! Nappy Yew Hear! Chappy Poo Queer! Yapph Ewn Eary! You'd Better Have a Happy Fuckin' New Year, Ya Git! Happy and Joyous New and Fresh Year and 52 Weeks! Ummm...I suppose Happy is the right word...uh...New...Year it seems to be. Happy (what a general term) New (it's not really "new"...just subsequent) Year (cliche expression all around)! How can one wish others to be Happy? Can one really wish joy on another for a whole year? What's the point?p.s. My mommy got me this for Christmas. Based on the cover, she thought it was some sex book. (But she still got it for me...)

  • Жор
    2019-01-24 18:51

    Коментар „Упражнения по стил“ е тънка книжка. Изданието, което прочетох, има грозна жълта корица и заглавие, изписано с безсерифен шрифт. Издадена е от „Фама“. В това свое произведение, Реймон Кьоно преразказва една очевидно незабележителна история цели деветдесет и девет пъти. Използвайки многообразие от стилове, вариращи от сонет и ода до математическа формула и вътрешен монолог. Писателят е виртуоз, който, впрягайки лингвистична мощ, успява да пречупи един и същ разказ, разкривайки различни нюанси от него. Затова бихме могли да приемем „Упражнения по стил“ като своеобразно ръководство по литературни форми.Смятам, че в известен смисъл, революционният аспект на „Упражнения по стил“ се крие в нейната липса на оригиналност – тя разказва едно и също в добре познати стари форми и тъкмо така поставя редица въпроси относно фундаментите на четенето като преживяване, разбирането, а следователно и на живеенето. Анотация „Упражнения по стил“ е сборник от 99 преразказа на една и съща история. Във всеки от тях, разказвачът – млад мъж с дълъг врат - се качва в автобус от градския транспорт в натоварен час на деня, сблъсква се със съседа си и два часа по-късно вижда същия човек на друга гара. Драстично различаващите се стилове (сонет, комедия, тарикатски, телеграфическо) са виртуозно ръководство по литературни форми.Гениалният отзвук на книгата се крие в нейната простота – нужна е огромна писателска мощ, за да бъде разказана една и съща история, дълга не повече от половин страница, в над 100 страници, без да отегчава, а дори напротив – да забавлява неистово и да буди читателското въображение. Обратна връзка от читател до издателство „Фама“ Здравейте!Пиша Ви във връзка с издадената наскоро „Упражнения по стил“ на Реймон Кьоно – световноизвестният и незаменим гид по литературни форми.Благодаря Ви за успешната реализация на тази ценна книга у нас – отдавна очаквах да я прочета в превод. Изключително богатият стил на френския писател и поет е преведен прецизно и се чете със завидна лекота. Мисля че това, което всички наричат „оригинално“ – разнообразието – всъщност са небезизвестни стари форми, но тъкмо събирането им в една книга поставя интересни въпроси относно фундаментите на четенето и схващането на текста.Непонятно ми е единствено защо сте избрали подобен безличен безсерифен шрифт и така неугледна жълта корица.Ваш верен читател,Георги Вълков Рецензия „Упражнения по стил“ излиза във Франция през 1947 г. – в един от най-бурните периоди за литературата в страната и автоматично превръща Кьоно в един от най-влиятелните писатели в света. Книгата съдържа 99 преразказа на кратък анекдот. Млад мъж, с дълъг врат и мека шапка, се качва в автобус, сблъсква се със съсед, намира си място за сядане и два часа по-късно среща същия съсед на гара Сен Лазар.Впечатляващата палитра от стилове и литературни форми е еднозначен признак за уникален талант в писателското поприще. Представяйки по забавен и ненатрапчив начин десетките възможности на разказваческото изкуство – преразказ във всякакви времена, окончания, с всевъзможни изразни средства и части на речта – Кьоно онагледява различните нюанси на една проста битова ситуация. В този смисъл книгата работи и като настолно четиво за ентусиасти в областта на литературата.Свободен стих Книгата е малка,Изданието – грозно,жанровете – много,авторът е с френско потеклои присъща лингвистична сила!И в липсата на революцияСе таи революционнотодобре познатистари нормипроявяват една и същаситуациясъвсем непретенциознов неустоимо богато множествоот стиловенюансии форми Официално писмо Имам честта и удоволствието да Ви уведомя, че книжката „Упражнения по стил“ е с обем малко над сто страници. Съвсем тънка. Наскоро ми се удаде възможност да я прочета и мога да твърдя, въпреки грозната ѝ корица с непривлекателно изписаното върху ѝ заглавие, че книгата е изключителна.На първата страница на това свое произведение, френският белетрист, поет и критик, Реймон Кьоно излага за пример един обикновен и не съвсем поучителен анекдод, който в следващите страници преразказва със завидна лекота, невероятен усет към писаното слово и неповторимо чувство за хумор. Позовавайки се на класически литературни форми, каквито са Шекспировият сонет, комедията и свободният стих, но и запознавайки читателя с по-екзотичните и позабравени танка (японско петстишие) и александрийски стих, Реймон Кьоно дава редица нагледни примери за разнообразните начини, по които можем да представим дадена сцена и поуките, които бихме могли да извлечем от случилото се на нея. В тази конотация на „Упражнения по стил“ би прилегнало описанието униерсален наръчник по различни литературни форми.В същия ред на мисли бих искал да добавя, че новаторският аспект на книгата се съхранява в нейната липса на новаторство – тя представя един на практика неизменим сюжет в неустоим спектър от различни стилове и множество части на речта. Това е причината за основополагащата функция, която би имала за всеки ентусиаст на тема литература. В този смисъл, като извод бихме могли да добавим и фундаменталните въпроси относно четенето, разбирането и живеенето, които книгата поставя, благодарение на своята многостранност.*Написано като част от курсова работа по "Критика и критическ практики"

  • Rebecca Renner
    2019-01-23 13:46

    This is an interesting study in voice. If you're struggling to understand the impact voice can have on a story, or if you want some assistance giving your narrator a different flavor, this book has a variety of useful examples.

  • Sakshi
    2019-02-04 15:00

    So pleased by the number of writing styles featured here. I could have never noticed the different styles. Some of my favorites were the subjective side, word-composition, distinguo, free verse, definitional, lipogram (omitted the 'e'), and epistolary. From distinguo:"In an S bus (which is not to be confused with a trespass), I saw (not an eyesore) a chap (not a Bath one) wearing a dark soft hat (and not a hat daft sack), which hat was encircled by a plaited cord (and not by an applauded cat). [...] He was talking to a friend (and not trending to a fork) about a button on his coat (which is not to be confused with a cut-?-on his throat.)"