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Exercises in Style (Alma Classics) Paperback – Illustrated, Special Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Alma Classics; Special edition edition (4 Sept. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184749241X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847492418
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 217,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Witty, playful, ingenious, it manages to transcend its own sophistication by a sort of verbal slapstick which Miss Wright translated into pure Groucho Marxism.' -- The Guardian

'Midway between Lewis Carroll and Jacques Derrida, in a deliriously witty dimension of its own, lies Queneau's Exercises in Style... Barbara Wright's dazzling translation matches this oddball classic step by step, pun by pun.' -- The Independent

'A pointless anecdote told in 99 different ways, or a work of genius in a brilliant translation by Barbara Wright. In fact it's both. Endlessly fascinating and very funny.' --Philip Pullman

'Barbara Wright's dazzling translation matches this oddball classic step by step, pun by pun.' --The Independent

About the Author

Raymond Queneau (1903 - 76) was a poet, novelist, editor, scholar and mathematician. He is best remembered for Exercises in Style and Zazie in the Metro.


Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is pretty much what the title suggests. This is French book, in translation, retelling the same short tale of about 200 words or so in around 100 different styles that is tenses, modes, poem, exclamation, passive voice, ode, biased, Haikai, prosthesis, mathematical etc. Some of the styles are quite `technical' in a literary definition sense. It is quite an interesting and quick read. It includes a background of the author at the back.

Clearly I won't be spoiling it by retelling the story in a couple of styles that he didn't use and are of my own design:

No words with E, in the mode of Perec:
"On a busy morning a full bus had two guys in a cramp up; a youth and an old guy, taking mutual ways to work. Our young man, of tall and narrow gap "from skull to collar" has an unusual hat on with a braid not a ribbon, talks in angry form to our old man about tramping boorishly on his foot. Such a bad chap is not fair in his talk back, making our young man find an original chair away at back. On finally walking off our bus our young man hails a companion on a famous Francais Plaza some hours on. A mild shout shows to our manly pal that his fur coat would look not so bad with an additional button at its joining point"

Only words with three letters:
"The bus has two men for set off. The one has few age and the old has hot ire. The one guy say "get off the toe you bad man!". Bad man say "Why has the hat got odd way for top?. You got mad bod too!. The guy now see row end and new sit. Off the bus now pal say: our guy his fur not bad but for add the one new tie and gap."

Well you get the idea. Perhaps a good book to learn about styles but it doesn't attempt to tell the same story with, in effect, different endings which might be a completely different challenge.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
99 different versions of the same trivial incident, each told in a different style. They average a couple of paragraphs but some are shorter and a few are more than a page.

The result is surprisingly interesting to read, though I suspect you have to be a certain type of person to enjoy it. (I warn you: I struggled all the way through Zazie dans let Metro in French, which includes compressed phrases devoid of vowels or spaces.)

It was different from what I expected. I expected him to take 99 different voices, each representing a different fictional personality of narrator or writer, and imagine how they would recount the incident. In fact it is not that. It is more an exploration of the range of written expression. Thus we have one full of onomatopoeia, one full of numbers, one full of colours, one full of exclamation marks, one full of "you know"s, one in anagrams, one with a lot of words ending in "ate" (congratulations to the translator for making that work), one in which all the statements are negative, one full of hyphenated words. He also explores different media - one is a play, one a civil servant's letter, one a cross examination - and some are complicated exercises largely uninteliigible.

I will let people better qualified than me comment on the intellectual feat, but I have the feeling it is a real tour de force.
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Interesting concept, useful for dedicated language analysis examples and written in an acccessable style.
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Excelent
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Good quality and amazing dispatch time
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