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QUENEAU, Raymond
QUENEAU, Raymond
QUENEAU, Raymond
QUENEAU, Raymond
QUENEAU, Raymond
QUENEAU, Raymond
QUENEAU, Raymond

QUENEAU, Raymond

Exercises in Style

London: Gaberbocchus Press, 1958. First edition. Small octavo; 198pp.; yellow cloth, in dust jacket. Mild soiling to board edges. Light foxing to textblock edges. Light foxing/off-setting to endpapers. Else very good in a very good minus jacket showing moderate soiling/browning, and fading to the publisher’s name at base of spine panel. Translated from the French by Barbara Wright, who has signed, dated, and briefly inscribed the base of the title page.

The first English-language edition of Queneau’s OULIPO masterpiece, which consists of 99 versions of an anecdote about a young man who gets jostled on the bus and later receives a piece of fashion advice from a friend. Wright was forced to take creative liberties when dealing with "untranslatable" sections—for instance, those using French tenses for which no English equivalent exists. The results owe much of their success to Wright’s own wit and linguistic gifts; Queneau declared himself "seized with inexpressible astonishment" at the strength of her efforts.

Wright has inscribed this copy to Cornelia Schaeffer, the maiden name of Cornelia Bessie. Bessie spent her entire career working as an editor in the publishing industry, often alongside her husband Michael, one of the founders of Atheneum Books. The couple remained at Atheneum for over fifteen years, before returning to Harper & Row, where they later founded their own imprint, Bessie Books. A reasonably presentable copy of this high point of French experimental literature, with a compelling association to the world of American publishing.

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