Queneau Raymond 1903 - 1976 (73)

One can easily classify all works of fiction either as descendants of the Iliad or of the Odyssey.


Exercises in Style

Raymond Queneau (February 21, 1903 – October 25, 1976) was a French intellectual, writer, poet, translator, and mathematician known for introducing humor and colloquialisms into the written French language.

He was born in Havre where he went to school and from his student years he started writing. He continued his studies in Paris and received a degree in literature and philosophy in 1924. He completed his military service in Algeria and Morocco and returned to Paris where he met Breton and became a member of the French Surrealist group in 1926. He would leave the group after 7 years. For some time in the 1930s he studied and recorded writers who had promulgated eccentric theories (he called them mad writers), culminating in the writing of a volume that exceeded 700 pages and no publisher wanted to publish it. In 1932 he published his first novel, while in 1959 he had great success with the short story "Zazi on the subway". In 1961 he also wrote Cent Mille Milliards de Poèmes (1961), a book that allowed the reader to mix words in such a way as to create, according to his calculations, a hundred trillion poems. The book with which he became more widely known is "Exercises in style" in which he wrote the same paragraph in 99 different ways, highlighting the richness and pluralism of languages.

Keno had been married in 1928 and had a son in 1934. In 1973 he was awarded the Medal of the City of Paris for his contribution to French letters. He died in 1976.