Exercises in Style
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“A work of genius in a brilliant translation by Barbara Wright….Endlessly fascinating and very funny.” —Philip Pullman
The plot of Exercises in Style is simple: a man gets into an argument with another passenger on a bus. However, this anecdote is told 99 more times, each in a radically different style, as a sonnet, an opera, in slang, and with many more permutations. This virtuoso set of variations is a linguistic rust-remover, and a guide to literary forms.
went and sat down. The same young man with the peculiar neck and the ridiculous hat met a pansified friend of his in the Cour de Rome. The young man said: “Hallo, how are you?” His pansified friend said: “You really ought to get the top button of your overcoat raised,” and the consequence was that a book was written and translated. * Replacing Par devant par derrière roper names On the back Josephine of a full Leo, I noticed Theodulus, one day, with Charles-the-too-long, and Derby,
EXERCICES DE STYLE Coq-tale Science fiction Nothing Oil UNPUBLISHED EXERCISES “On the bus …” “I get on …” “On a beautiful …” J’accuse “On a warm …” Epistolary Metaphors & binocular vision “Towards noon …” “There were oodles …” “A shoal of sardines …” “It was hotter …” Fear “The overcoat …” The stro “I get on the bus …” How the game is played… Promotional Problem EXERCISES IN HOMAGE TO RAYMOND QUENEAU Instructions Jesse Ball Doppelgängers Blake Butler Viscera Amelia
action. Young man. Hat. Long thin neck. A young man with a hat and a plaited cord round it. That’s the chief character. Person. A person. A person. That’s the second character. Me. Me. Me. That’s the third character, narrator. Words. Words. Words. That’s what was said. Seat vacant. Seat taken. A seat that was vacant and then taken. That’s the result. The gare Saint-Lazare. An hour later. A friend. A button. Another phrase heard. That’s the conclusion. Logical conclusion.
of the S line, one day at about 12 noon, me and the young man who had put a long neck under a ridiculous hat. The jolts which occurred resulted in a protest, which protest emanated from the young man who had such a long neck on the platform of an S bus, one day at about 12 noon. There was an accusation formulated in a voice damp with wounded dignity, because on the platform of an S bus, a young man had a hat which was equipped with a lanyard all the way round it, and a long neck; there was also
neighbour. I didn’t hear what he said, but they gave each other some dirty looks. Then the young man with the long neck went and sat down in a hurry. Coming back from the Porte Champerret I passed in front of the gare Saint-Lazare. I saw my young man having a discussion with a pal. the pal indicated a button just above the lapels of the young man’s overcoat. Then the bus took me off and I didnt see them any more. I had a seat and I wasn’t thinking about anything. resent At midday the heat