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The Afterlives of Georges Perec$
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Rowan Wilken and Justin Clemens

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474401241

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474401241.001.0001

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Posthumous News: The Afterlives of Georges Perec

Posthumous News: The Afterlives of Georges Perec

(p.1) Chapter 1 Posthumous News: The Afterlives of Georges Perec
The Afterlives of Georges Perec

Justin Clemens

Rowan Wilken

Edinburgh University Press

Georges Perec is considered one of the most significant twentieth century writers. While perhaps best known for his first breakthrough novel Things and his monumental Life A Users Manual and perhaps his involvement in the Oulipo group, over the course of his writing career Perec produced, in Alison James’s words, ‘a body of work that is astonishing in its breadth and originality’. Perec’s stated ambition was to ‘write every kind of thing that it is possible for a man to write’, from acrostics and palindromes, to crosswords and revealing parodies of academic journal articles. The sheer diversity of Perec’s own output and the richness and insight of many of his non-fiction essays has provided scholars, writers and artists with a veritable toolbox of ideas for adaptation and wider application. This chapter gives a brief account of Perec’s life and extraordinary literary output. It develops the argument that Perec was, in key respects, ahead of his time and that many of his literary experiments were prescient in the way that they speak to and shed significant light on a range of contemporary issues and debates.

Keywords:   Georges Perec, afterlives, experimental writing, contemporary literature

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