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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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Perec and the Politics of Constraint

Perec and the Politics of Constraint

(p.157) Chapter 9 Perec and the Politics of Constraint
The Afterlives of Georges Perec

Alison James

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter argues that Perec’s engagement with the Oulipo at a crucial moment in the group’s history crystallizes the political potential of the Oulipian project, and determines the continuing significance of the group for today’s writers. Perec develops a mode of formal experiment that is perhaps ‘not so very anti’ when compared to the radically oppositional stance of the avant-garde, but which burrows beneath surfaces, exposing hidden determinisms and unexpected coincidences in the fabric of social life. Oulipian constraint thus operates, to borrow Jacques Rancière’s expression, as a ‘redistribution of the sensible’ that opens up the possibility of new forms of life.

Keywords:   Georges Perec, Oulipo, politics, compositional constraint

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