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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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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 28 March 2020

Apoetic Life: Perec, Poetry, Pneumatology

Apoetic Life: Perec, Poetry, Pneumatology

Chapter:
(p.45) Chapter 3 Apoetic Life: Perec, Poetry, Pneumatology
Source:
The Afterlives of Georges Perec
Author(s):

Justin Clemens

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474401241.003.0003

For much of his life, it seems Georges Perec spurned poetry, identifying it with the sort of bourgeois sentimentalism that his own writing was constitutionally against. Once, however, he had been convinced by friends such as Harry Mathews that poetry was also exemplary of forms of compositional constraint, he returned to it with a vengeance — to the extent that his later work can even be seen to have received a new and decisive impetus from this realization. This chapter examines fragments from Shakespeare’s King Lear, Raymond Queneau’s oeuvre, and several works of Perec’s in order to identify key sets of operational constraints across their work. The differences and similarities between these operations are discussed, and consequences are drawn for contemporary poetry.

Keywords:   Georges Perec, Raymond Queneau, William Shakespeare, contemporary poetry, Oulipo, compositional constraint, potential literature

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