"I heard about this work by Carmelo Bene, an Italian poet, theater director, critic, and theater writer, who did a lipogrammatic
work on Romeo and Juliet," Manoauch recalled, citing an Oulipian constraint-based practice of omission.
Syntactical play featured heavily in Oulipian work, an example of this is to be found in Georges Perec's 1969 lipogrammatic
novel La Disparation (A Void), famously written without the letter "e", a challenge at which even Johnson may have baulked.
Some time in 1936 or 1937, a little-known author and public speaker by the name of Ernest Vincent Wright sat down at his typewriter, tied down its "e" type bar, and banged out Gadsby, a 50 000-word lipogrammatic
The book was written three years after its complement, La Disparition, Perec's lengthy lipogrammatic
novel in "e" on the disappearance of, among other things, a protagonist named "Voyl" and the letter "e" from the alphabet.
But in a wider sense, all of this ostensibly minor, even insignificant, literature of the infra-ordinary can be assimilated without strain to his fiction--the indefatigable inventory-taking of the world's population of things in Things and Life A User's Manual, the catalogue raisonnee of (fraudulent) paintings in A Gallery Portrait, and even, if of course by default, the lipogrammatic
tour de force of A Void.
(36)) What is compelling about La Disparition's self-referentiality, however, is that it gives unity to the text's formal and semantic aspects, thus motivating the arbitrary lipogrammatic
novel, published in 1969, is a 300-page masterwork of linguistic ingenuity, for the letter e, by far the most common letter in French, (1) is used in many of the most common French words (such as le (the), et (and), je (I), and etre (to be)).
But a trained and discriminating aural sensitivity is likely to follow from the essentially oral nature of Greek culture at this period.(32) The effect of the sibilant will have demanded special attention during the rehearsal and performance of vocal, and in particular choral, music intended for a discerning audience: from the perspective of listener and [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] are `songs that do not hiss'.(33) For Lasos, the purpose of asigmatic composition was not the pursuit of an academic ideal of euphony or of lipogrammatic
virtuosity.(34) It is more likely to have stemmed from an attempt to reduce the impact of poorly synchronized `s's, a problem relating to the quality of choral utterance about which he had some particular cause to be fastidious.
If the reviewer may be allowed a cavil, it is this: that worn type has been used for this otherwise handsome 450-pp volume--a damaged lower-case "E" so frequently reading as a "C" that it might be thought to be a quixotic lipogrammatic
quest in the wake of Georges Perec.
I've been really enjoying it, particularly Tristan Miller's comprehensive Lipogrammatic
Windows Survey and Jim Puder's palindromized color names--a project I can particularly relate to.
translations, such as the versions "without e" of Mallarme, Baudelaire, etc., in La Disparition.
An echo of the novel's central content (or absence) can be seen in the formal constraint adopted by Perec: the lipogrammatic
omission of the fifth letter of the alphabet throughout the novel (not to mention the omission of a fifth chapter).(1)