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Winter Journeys


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"In 1979, Georges Perec wrote a brief entertainment for a publisher’s catalogue, and “The Winter Journey” quickly became his most frequently reprinted short story. Set on the eve of the Second World War, it recounts the discovery of a great literary masterpiece that conceals a scandalous secret at the heart of modern French literature. Every aspect of literary history will have to be rewritten in consequence. However, the War intervenes, and the work is lost forever.

The Oulipo is comprised mainly of French writers who are interested in exploiting “constraints” in literature (Oulipo stands for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle which means, roughly, Workshop for Potential Literature). Its members have included luminaries of the calibre of Italo Calvino, Marcel Duchamp and Raymond Queneau, but it was Perec who perhaps became its most celebrated practitioner. The present volume includes, and then extends Perec’s brief parable. Over two decades his fellow Oulipians have written twenty sequels to this tale, between 1992 and the year of publication. It turns out to be a story resonant with possibilities, and the result is a sort of “hyper-novel”, a novel of digressions, gradual elaboration and bizarre forays into the unexpected. Winter Journeys has grown to become one of the most extended and congenial literary experiments of recent times, and includes meditations on the literary tastes of worms, book-burning in the Nazi period, the delights of plagiarism and the twisted rationality of bibliophilia. It is also a monument to the friendship, ingenuity and collective creativity of this uniquely long-lived group of writers."

Texts by Michèle Audin, Marcel Bénabou, Jacques Bens, François Caradec, Frédéric Forte, Paul Fournel, Mikhaïl Gorliouk, Michelle Grangaud, Reine Haugure, Jacques Jouet, Étienne Lécroart, Hervé Le Tellier, Daniel Levin Becker, Harry Mathews, Ian Monk, Georges Perec, Jacques Roubaud, Hugo Vernier, translated by Harry Mathews, Ian Monk and John Sturrock.

Published by Atlas Press, hardback edition, 2013.

Product Code: 9781900565646

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