Friday, August 25, 2006

Lipo: First and Second Manifestos - Francois Le Lionnais

In defining "Potential Literature," Francois Le Lionnais questions the assumption that art is the product of a singular "inspired" vision. By contrast, the Oulipian aesthetic foregrounds the constraints implicit in all works of art, opening up new means of creation and a way of reclaiming works of the past through a form of "literary prosthesis."

First Manifesto

Let's open a dictionary to the words "Potential Literature." We find absolutely nothing. Annoying lacuna. What follows is intended, if not to impose a definition, at least to propose a few remarks, simple hors d'oeuvres meant to assuage the impatience of the starving multitudes until the arrival of the main dish, which will be prepared by people more worthy than myself.

Do you remember the polemic that accompanied the invention of language? Mystification, puerile fantasy, degeneration of the race and decline of the State, treason against Nature, attack on affectivity, criminal neglect of inspiration; language was accused of everything (without, of course, using language) at that time.

And the creation of writing, and grammar--do you think that that happened without a fight? The truth is that the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns is permanent. It began with Zinjanthropus (a million seven hundred and fifty thousand years ago) and will end only with humanity--or perhaps the mutants who succeed us will take up the cause. A Quarrel, by the way, very badly named. Those who are called the Ancients are often the stuffy old descendants of those who in their own day were Moderns; and the latter, if they came back among us, would in many cases take sides with the innovators and renounce their all too faithful imitators. more..

Found atcenter for bookculture.


Post a Comment

<< Home