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Wordplay and the contextual circle in Queneau's Petite Cosmogonie Portative.

Published in 1950, Raymond Queneau's Petite Cosmogonie Portative was an ambitious attempt to revive the long-dormant genre of the verse cosmogony, incorporating the most recent scientific discoveries of the day and employing a ludic rhetoric indebted to the surrealists and to James Joyce. This article will propose a taxonomy to account for the bewildering variety of portmanteau words and puns in the Cosmogonie, then show how in many cases Queneau's wordplay confounds categorization by combining the proposed types. Moreover, instances of wordplay are linked in complex networks, so that the discovery of a new meaning in one instance enriches the context for the others, leading to a dizzying proliferation of meanings and making the distinction between over-reading and exhaustive reading particularly difficult to draw. Like Joyce's Finnegans Wake, the Petite Cosmogonie Portative is a text that illustrates this problem of the "contextual circle" with exemplary force. The article will conclude by relating the effects of wordplay at the lexical level to the broader reorganization of scientific knowledge effected by the Cosmogonie as a whole, and evaluating the metaphor of "transmutation" which Queneau used to describe this process.

We can begin to measure the project of the Petite Cosmogonie Portative by considering its title. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a cosmogony is a "theory, system or account of the creation or generation of the universe." Diachronic cosmogony may be opposed to the synchronic systems constructed by cosmology. Queneau's poem recounts the history of the universe from the Big Bang to the invention of digital computers. The title is oxymoronic: the adjectives point to the brevity of the text, making light of the totalizing intent implied by the noun. But they also indicate the work's affiliations: although the Cosmogonie is by no means short for a modern poem, with its total of 1,388 lines, it is only about as long as a single canto of its great precursor--the De Rerum Natura of Lucretius. Like De Rerum Natura, the Cosmogonie renders homage to Venus. Queneau even parodies the invocation of the goddess that opens Lucretius' poem: "Aeneadum genetrix, hominum divumque voluptas" (De Rerum Natura I, 1); "Aimable banditrix des hommes volupte" (Petite Cosmogonie Portative IV, 110). (1) However the Cosmogonie does not respond to Lucretius in isolation, but to a long, if intermittent, tradition of scientific poetry, which can be traced back to the pre-Socratic philosopher-poets Xenophanes, Parmenides, and Empedocles, and which is still showing signs of life, although for most literary historians, essays in the genre since the Renaissance have generally failed. Either they were not completed, like Andre Chenier's Hermes (begun in 1782) or they have fallen irrecuperably out of the canon, like Les Trois Regnes de la Nature by Jacques Delille (1806). In an article on "Science and Literature" written for the Times Literary Supplement in 1967, Queneau agrees with the literary historians, looking back to Du Bartas and Peletier du Mans for the last examples of a truly scientific poetry, which, he says, not only has scientific subject matter but also transmutes the language of science into poetry. "Il faut remonter jusqu'a Peletier du Mans et du Bartas pour trouver une poesie scientifique, c'est-a-dire, non seulement dont le sujet est tel, mais encore ou le langage de la science est transmue en poesie. C'est ce que j'ai essaye moi-meme de faire dans la Petite Cosmogonie Portative." (2)

Albert-Marie Schmidt, in his study of scientific poetry in sixteenth-century France, uses the term hexameron to describe a form introduced by Maurice Sceve's Microcosme: a long cosmogonic poem in alexandrines, divided into six cantos (Schmidt 167). Queneau adopted this form for his Cosmogonie, prefacing each canto with a prose argument in the manner of eighteenth-century poets such as Delille. But within this antique frame is set a text of evident, even aggressive, modernity, continually infringing rules of spelling, grammar and lexis, not to mention meter and poetic decorum. The text is modern also in its employment of the most recent scientific discoveries and theories of the day, such as continental drift or Georges Lemaitre's notion of the "primitive atom" (an early version of the Big Bang theory).

The combination of linguistic licentiousness and wide-ranging references to modern scientific knowledge makes the Cosmogonie a rather daunting poem and probably the least read of Queneau's works. Most readers who sit down to tackle it are soon struck by the discouraging abundance of unfamiliar words. Some are manifestly inventions, but often the Grand Robert or the Tresor de la Langue Francaise will reveal that what seemed at first glance to be a new word is in fact an existing scientific term. Concerning the verbal inventions in the Cosmogonie, Claude Debon has written: "Cet imaginaire s'inscrit dans une langue qui dans toute l'oeuvre de Queneau n'a jamais ete aussi novatrice: motsvalises, hapax plutot que neologismes--bien que l'auteur dans une note isolee parle de mots 'petit-laroussables'" (Queneau, CEuvres completes I 1238). Neologism is distinguished from hapax logomenon here by the author's intention to create a word which will cross over from discourse to language. Repetition of the word may be evidence of this intention. In the Petite Cosmogonie Portative most of the new words are invented for the nonce, used once only, which is why Debon prefers the term hapax. It is not inconceivable, however, that some of Queneau's inventions may enter the language like Joyce's quarks, and the note mentioned by Debon indicates a consciousness of this possibility.

The nonce words can be divided into two classes: unconventional derivations and portmanteau words. An analysis of the derivations shows that the three main categories of lexical words exchange derivatives freely. New words are also made by prefixation and the creation of gendered forms. Along with unconventional spellings and the uses of one part of speech in the syntactic position of another, the derivations contribute to the extraordinary plasticity of Queneau's idiolect in the Cosmogonie. They may cause a moment's puzzlement, but more resistant interpretive problems arise from the use of portmanteau words. These verbal monsters have been known to grammarians for a long time. In the seventh century A.D., Virgilus Maro Grammaticus was already claiming that "the scrambling of words" (scinderatio fonorum) was a time-honored device (Law 84-87). However the expression "portmanteau word" was invented for the nonce by Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking Glass (1871), and, to define it, one can do no better than quote from Humpty Dumpty's exegesis of "Jabberwocky": "Well, 'slithy' means 'lithe and slimy.' 'Lithe' is the same as 'active.' You see it's like a portmanteau--there are two meanings packed up into one word" (Carroll 27). The other portmanteau explained by Humpty Dumpty is "mimsy," a cross between "flimsy" and "miserable."

The condition for this packing up together is evidently some kind of similarity in sound. Marina Yaguello writes: "le mot-valise est l'amalgame de deux mots unis par un segment commun, sans que celuici soit forcement un morpheme" (Yaguello 181). In neither of the examples from Carroll is there a common morpheme, and in the case of "mimsy" the phonemes common to the two components do not constitute a common segment since they occur in different orders. Laure Hesbois has looked further into the construction of the portmanteau word, distinguishing between the mot-gigogne, formed by overlapping, and the mot-sandwich, in which part of one word is inserted between the syllables of the other (Hesbois 101). "Slithy" is a motsandwich, but "mimsy" does not fit into either category. The common phonemes ([imz] and [miz]) are themselves packed together in the new word ([mimz]), which is thus a second-degree portmanteau.

If we look at the portmanteau words in the Cosmogonie we will see that they vary considerably in their construction. Here is a relatively simple example:
  deja le thysanoure
  apres le collembole et I'infime protoure
  se prepare a la lutte antibouquinistique
  tout autant qu'aux exploits myrmecophilistiques
  Lepisme au dos d'argent lecteur des in-folios. (IV, 197-201)


Myrmecophilistiques is formed by the overlapping of two words which share a syllable--myrmecophile (a term applied to insects living in association with ants) and philistine--with the addition of a rhyming suffix. The new word describes thysanoures, insects of the order Thysanura, some of which, like Atelura formicaria, live in anthills and steal the food collected by the ants, while others, like the silver-fish (lepisma domestica, lepisme in French) use books for corporal rather than spiritual food. "Comme un travail de fourmi livre contre la culture et les arts," notes Claude Debon (Queneau, OEuvres completes I, 1253).

Sometimes the coincidence in sound is poorer: procreant and foutant share only their terminal phoneme, but Queneau squashes them together all the same, confounding the difference in register: "par toi les animaux en leur lieu en leur temps / savourent la planete en y procrefoutant" (IV, 117). And when the coincidence is rich, the common phonemes need not occur in the same order in the two components and the portmanteau. Evoluvitale (IV, 210) from evolutif and vitale, for example, is a seconddegree portmanteau like "mimsy" ([v l t i] + [v i t l] > [v l v i t l]).

The portmanteau word is not a single or even a dual phenomenon. The ways of packing two words together range from simple adjunction to a scrambling of the common phonemes. Thus the portmanteau shades off at one extreme into the compound word, easily analyzed, and at the other into coinages whose extraction may be difficult to trace.

So far it has been implied that the portmanteau word is always the sum of two components. But there is no reason why its contents should be so limited. S'adultinent, in the line "des masses de liaisons qui deja s'adultinent" (I, 45), is apparently a cross between the verbs s'agglutiner and adulterer. However the pun on liaison--a chemical bond and a sexual relationship--suggests that the adjective adulterine, as in the legal expression, rapports adulterins, may also be included in the portmanteau. Similarly, in the lines "Un arbre s'etalant une roche carrie / sont les passifs aieux des kiosques et des gares" (VI. 59-60), carrie may contain charrie, as well as carre and carie.

In his essay on the portmanteau word in Finnegans Wake, Derek Attridge claims that there is no method for deciding at what point the connections between the new word and its possible components become too slight to be relevant (Attridge 149). However I think it would be difficult to show that the portmanteaux in the Cosmogonie undermine the stability of the whole text's meaning, as Attridge argues convincingly with respect to Finnegans Wake. First, they are used with a relative parsimony; and secondly, the possible extra components do not in general open up wholly new semantic fields. Puns, however, are both more pervasive and more troubling in the Cosmogonie.

The words "pun" and calembour refer to a rather ill-defined range of effects. For Pierre Guiraud the term calembour covers any kind of word play based on analogy whether between signifieds or signifiers (Guiraud 11-17). Derek Attridge restricts the pun to the plane of expression, defining it as the exploitation of homonymy (Attridge 140). Groupe Mu speak of "substitution quasi-homonymique" (Groupe Mu 62); and Marina Yaguello stresses that the linguistic phenomenon underlying the pun is not homonymy in general, but homophony, whether exact or approximate (paronymie) (Yaguello 175). For Yaguello, punning is exclusively oral, which is not to say that there are not puns in literature, but that the graphic similarity of two signifiers, on its own, may be the basis for a paragram but not a pun. I will observe this distinction, leaving paragrams aside, since the wordplay in the Cosmogonie is predominantly oral.

The pun is not always a substitution; sometimes the two terms linked by a similarity of sound are both present in the syntagm. Thus we can divide puns into two classes using the in praesentia/in absentia distinction. Pierre Guiraud has coined the useful words lude and ludant to distinguish the terms: the ludant (or playful variant) is always present, while the lude (the segment being played upon) may be absent (Guiraud 11-17). When both are present, the lude generally comes first and is more pertinent to the context. There are some cases, however, in which it is impossible to tell which term is being played upon. For example, in the lines: "larousse ingurgite tout champignon qui seme / s'aime en seche onanie et spore aux horizons" (II, 48-49), s'aime and seme could change places without any violence to the sense. This pun is perfectly reversible.

The phonetic similarity between the two terms of the pun varies in extension from the syllable to the sentence, and this furnishes a series of classes perpendicular to the in praesentia/in absentia distinction. The classification is further complicated by the fact the pun does not respect word boundaries: the lude may be a word and the ludant a phrase, for example. Table 1 proposes a grid for classifying puns using the distinctions introduced above.

Most of the classes shown in Table 1 are represented in the Cosmogonie. An examination of each class would exceed the scope of this article. The following paragraphs present examples of the more complex types of punning. The letters in parentheses refer back to the table.

(a) A pun in praesentia seems to have generated the second of the following lines on the atavistic belligerence of homo sapiens: "trop vite il est passe pres du machairodus / il n'y a point laisse le macaire ou le dux" (V, 214-15). Machairodus is the name of an extinct genus of saber-toothed tiger; Macaire is the archetypical villain of French comedy, from Benjamin Antier's play L'Auberge des Adrets (1823); and le dux suggests a particular military leader, il duce, Mussolini.

(b) The example afforded by "hercules des neants erre-culs des hantes" (V, 164), a line nominally concerning whales, is more complex. It seems at first that this is a pun with both terms present: erre-culs playing on hercules. But Queneau's gloss in a letter to Yvon Belaval reveals that both are plays on the authors initials: "RQ = air cul = erre-culs" (Queneau, CEuvres completes I 1256).

(c) This brings us to the more frequent puns in absentia. These are often generative, a single-word lude giving rise to a phrase in the text: "le dos fin" (I, 212) from dauphin; "si l'icone" (III, 176) from silicone. The lude may be disarticulated as in the case of the Machairodus. In this way betteraves become "bites de raves" (V, 49); and marecages, "les marees en cage" (IV, 32).

(d) The last kind of pun that requires consideration in this cursory overview is that in which an absent segment is converted into a sentence in the text. The first of the lines dedicated to beryllium in the third canto presents a particularly perplexing example of this extended punning: "Au peril de la mer haute en glu signe un homme" (III, 154). On a first reading this seems quite incoherent. Queneau provided a laconic clue in a letter to Ludwig Harig, who translated the poem into German: "comprendre simplement: glucinium" (Queneau, OEuvres completes I 1249). Glucinium is another name for beryllium, and the end of the line--"glu signe un homme"--seems to pun on this word. In his commentary on the poem, Italo Calvino points out that emerald is a kind of beryl (a cyclosilicate containing beryllium) and concludes that the whole line is based on approximate homophony, identifying the lude as: "Au beryl d'emeraude un glucinium" (Calvino 163-164). Claude Debon suggests: "o beryl emeraude" for the first hemistich (Queneau, CEuvres completes I, 1250). Neither reading, however, provides a sense which fits neatly into the context:
  Au peril de la mer haute en glu signe un homme
  et ce vert paturage exhydre la denree
  un peu molle et future ou l'huitre grise pomme
  exhale sa saveur entre deux diatomees
  echo lointain et molle du beryl emeraude
  cristal au vert museau quadrielectrone. (III, 154-159)


Beryl emeraude in line 158 supports the readings of Calvino and Debon, but what does the oyster have to do with beryllium? Several connections can be found, if we take into account the implicit contrast between beryl and pearl that Queneau is elaborating here. Perle is a phonetic echo of beryl, deformed, as if it had carried over a large distance (echo lointain), and soft (et molle), both because the word requires a more relaxed articulation and because calcium carbonate, of which pearls are made, is much softer than beryl.

The hidden pearl suggests why the man of line 154 is braving the dangers of the high seas, but not why he signs in birdlime. Perhaps it is unrealistic to expect perfect coherence at all levels in such complex wordplay. Indeed, according to Marina Yaguello, roughness is in the true spirit of punning: "C'est dans le rapprochement fortuit, inattendu, du son et du sens que reside l'humour calembouresque, exclusivement oral [...] D'ailleurs, plus le calembour est approximatif, plus il est bon: exploitation de la paronymie et homophonie 'a cheval' sur plusieurs mots" (Yaguello 175). In other words, the worse the pun is, the better. By this standard, Queneau's "au peril de la mer haute en glu signe un homme" is excellent. It realizes the ambition avowed in "Sally plus intime": "Elever le calembour a la hauteur d'un supplice" (Queneau, Les CEuvres completes de Sally Mara 349). Such punishment may provoke laughter or groaning on the part of the reader, who may admire, condemn or excuse Queneau for it, agreeing, in the last case, with Auden that "good poets have a weakness for bad puns" (Auden 470). Yet, questions of taste aside, the line remains unsettling. Having deciphered it, more or less, with the help of the author and the commentators, one cannot help wondering how many such puns remain encrypted elsewhere in the poem. If the possible lude is not to be authenticated by close phonic resemblance to the words of the text, and by a high degree of semantic coherence, how can we disqualify the numerous conjectures provoked by this example? How can we decide when a putative pun is too far-fetched? I shall return to this problem shortly.

The various kinds of wordplay in the Cosmogonie are not mutually exclusive, and they are often combined in a way which confounds the taxonomy proposed above. For example, in "la lave en valdrague" (VI, 34), valdrague may be regarded as a portmanteau word composed of the verbs valdinguer and draguer, or as a pun on "la lave en valdrague." In the line "en la multipliant de sa nudite crasse" (V, 38), the noun crasse used in apposition could also be regarded as a portmanteau word combining grasse and crasseux, or as an anglicism, modelled on "crass."

Not only do the instances of wordplay combine the proposed categories, they also depend upon and activate one other. The lines invoking Hermes/Mercury will furnish an example of this interconnection. Another article could no doubt be devoted to the explication of the passage in question, which is composed essentially of riddling qualifications of the god. But the purpose of the reading proposed here is simply to trace the network linking a set of thematically-related word plays (italicized in the text).
  Il visera plus haut que l'urne apothicaire
  que le sublime meme s'il est corrosif
  ou que le souvenir d'un negre laxatif
  Ne natif du cinabre emis par I'illusion
  serpent vert aboyant apres l'arbre de Diane
  pere autolyceen guide des defunctions
  parcoureur des enfers liberateur des ames
  adresse du poete algorithme alchimique
  toi dont le portrait borne insulta l'alcibiade
  socratique dandy satrapant chez les Perses
  toi qui sais pourlecher de ta langue transverse
  les travaux inspires aux forgerons de rythmes
  mineur de l'allusion tailleur de metaphores
  Hermes explique donc a ces francais lecteurs
  la clarte de ce carme en six parts divise
  Mercure ajuste donc leur castuce artesienne
  au naif synopsis de ce petit poeme
  Hermes expose donc le tres simple projet
  que tracera ma plume a l'aide de vocables
  pour la plupart choisis parmi ceux des Francais
  Torcheur de vieux paves distilleur des essences
  broyeur de galets mous fin solveur de rebus
  manipule les cles de ma concupiscence
  et les trous de serrures ou gitent nos obus
  'conome de pensee algebreur d'emotions
  colporteur des agneaux genereux psychopompe
  copronyme etallique aturbide aviateur
  dans les colorados ethiops hydrargyrose. (III, 50-77)


In line 76 we find the god qualified as copronyme (III, 76), a nonce-word forged from the Greek kopros, excrement. Why copronyme? Calvino suggests that the coinage was prompted by an implicit pun: Mercure / merde-cure (Calvino 163). This conjecture is supported by the mention in line 52 of the laxative calomel (mercury (I) chloride): "le souvenir d'un negre laxatif" (III, 52). With this compound in mind, we may read the nonce-word defunctions in line 55 ("pere autolyceen guide des defunctions" [III, 55]) as a pun, referring to defecation as well as to Mercury's role as the herald of Hades, summoning the dying, soon to be defunct. The association of Hermes with defecation continues in the expression "torcheur de vieux paves" (III, 70), literally "wiper of paving stones," but also, in a colloquial register, "hack writer of dull tomes." Hermes is a hack in his capacity as the supposed author of the alchemical texts grouped under the name Corpus Hermeticum. The implicit link between the literal and slang meanings of torcher ("torcher un papier," to dash off an article) is provided by the expression torche-cul, which may designate a book or piece of writing of poor quality.

We can see from this example how the instances of wordplay are not always discrete and limited to a line or two; they may communicate over considerable textual distances, and their functioning is circulatory. We can also see how following a figural thread leads to readings which are less than commanding but difficult to dismiss. It is not that there is a free play of meaning, so that all readings are equally valid; some are demonstrably more coherent than others, but this coherence varies in a continuous fashion, so that the distinction between "exhaustive" reading and "over-reading" is highly problematic. The instances of wordplay are so numerous, and so often gratuitous, that they induce in the reader a systematic suspicion of verbal forms. He or she starts to look for wordplay even where there is no semantic anomaly, and progressively gets better at finding it.

The taste for wordplay may exceed the limits of normal behavior and verge on the pathological. Freud remarked that there are some people who, when they are in high spirits, can, for considerable periods of time, answer every remark addressed to them with a pun (Freud 47). Pierre Guiraud describes this compulsive punning as a kind of fit: "certains sont en proie a des acces de frenesie verbale, une sorte de delire du calembour qui s'empare d'eux comme un fou rire, effrene et incoercible" (Guiraud 113). As to the detection of wordplay, Jean Starobinski, observing that Saussure, as he progressed in his research into anagrams in Latin poetry found more of them more easily, conjectures that he stopped for fear of being submerged (Starobinski 153).

The Petite Cosmogonie Portative both participates in and induces this excessive paronomasia. "Excessive" because, as Todorov has shown in Les Genres du Discours, wordplay has generally been censured by evaluative criticism and ignored by analytic criticism in the Christian West since the Renaissance. It has been seen as language gone mad or inspired by the devil, at the very least a sign of political irresponsibility (Todorov 294-296). Yet perhaps these charges have screened a more cogent reason for the stigmatization of word play, which may be illustrated by a final reflection on the phenomena we have observed in the Cosmogonie.

To limit the meanings of a pun or a portmanteau word we depend on the constraints furnished by the context. But in the Cosmogonie the context itself is patently composed of portmanteau words and puns. Each time the reader discovers a new meaning in one item, the context for all the others is altered. By virtue of the kind of interconnections indicated above in the invocation of Hermes, such an alteration is likely to increase the meaning available in some of the other items, which will in turn enrich the context of the original item. In this way a spiraling proliferation of meaning is set in train. We are faced with the problem of the contextual circle, summarized as follows by Jacques Derrida: "aucun sens ne se determine hors contexte mais aucun contexte ne donne lieu a saturation" (Derrida 125).

Like Finnegans Wake, the Petite Cosmogonie Portative is a text that makes this generally hidden problem manifest. A scrupulous attempt at exhaustive reading leads sooner or later to a kind of hermeneutic vertigo. Most readers, however, on first looking into the poem are confronted with a perplexing lack rather than a dizzying overabundance of meaning. Supplying the lack is not just a matter of consulting the existing commentaries, since a good deal of basic explication remains to be done. So while the problem of the contextual circle is real, in the case of the Cosmogonie, it tends, at present, to recede behind more humdrum problems of reading first formulated as "what on earth does that mean?"

Returning to the metaphor of transmutation, we can now see that it aptly describes the alteration undergone by scientific language in the Petite Cosmogonie Portative. The process comprises two phases: first univocal, precisely defined scientific terms are thoroughly disarticulated, then rearticulated along with lexical items from everyday speech in a system which privileges the condensation and the circulation of meaning at the expense of transparency and linearity. Meaning is condensed by packing words together in portmanteaux and by playing on their multiple senses in puns; it circulates via the networks constituted by these figures, each enriching the context in which the others are read.

The two phases of the verbal transformation--disarticulation and rearticulation--are analogous to the dissolution and coagulation prescribed by the alchemists for the transmutation of base metals. It is this analogy that underlies Queneau's use of the alchemical metaphor to describe Joyce's verbal experiments in Finnegans Wake:
  Certes il etait necessaire de reveler les secrets de la composition
  de ce filtre, car Joyce fut eminemment un alchimiste [...] C'est lui
  faire injure que de penser qu'il voulait, en coagulant et en
  dissolvant les vocables de differents idiomes parvenir a une sorte de
  volapuck pour touristes du mythe, esperanto, qui sait? [...] peutetre
  utilisable (Queneau, "Quelques maitres" 434, 439).


In the case of the Petite Cosmogonie Portative, the metaphor is pertinent at the discursive level as well as the lexical level. Like the individual words Queneau plays with, scientific modes of organization and systems of concepts are disarticulated and destructured, largely by mutual interference. They undergo a sort of pulverization, to use Jean Rostand's metaphor (Rostand 486). Losing much of their original systematic value, elements of scientific knowledge take on new values determined by the places they occupy in the independent system of relations established by the poem. Over short segments, relations between signifiers dominate, while the broader structure of the poem is governed by a comic version of the hylozoist doctrine, which endows matter itself and often the universe as a whole with life.

Queneau's hylozoism has a multitude of precedents, the most venerable being Plato's insistence that the world is "a living being with soul and intelligence" in the Timaeus, and the most striking, the notes Andre Chenier made for his unfinished verse cosmogony Hermes (Plato 43, Andrews 64-65). Interestingly, hylozoism has made a comeback since the publication of the Cosmogonie, in the form of the controversial Gaia hypothesis, proposed by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis in the 1970s and popularized by Lovelock in his books The Gaia Hypothesis and The Ages of Gaia. As well as being a poetic figure, the hylozoism of the Petite Cosmogonie Portative prefigured the return of an idea generally thought to be extinct in the realm of science, and of which we have probably not seen the last metamorphosis. A similar claim could be made for verse cosmogony, all the more forcefully since the publication in 1992 of Ernesto Cardenal's monumental Cantico Cosmico.
TABLE 1 Classification of puns

                Extension of ludant
                SYLLABLE  WORD  PHRASE  SENTENCE

in praesentia                    (a)
(explicit):
lude and
ludant present                   (b)
in absentia                      (b)      (d)
(implicit):
lude absent                      (c)


Notes

(1) Here and henceforth references to the Petite Cosmogonie Portative are to the edition in Raymond Queneau, CEuvres Completes I, edited by Claude Debon.

(2) The text is cited from a copy of the French typescript kindly supplied by the translator, Barbara Wright.

Works Cited

Andrews, Chris. Poetry and Cosmogony: Science in the Writing of Queneau and Ponge. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1999.

Attridge, Derek. "Unpacking the Portmanteau, or Who's Afraid of Finnegans Wake?" On Puns: The Foundation of Letters. Ed. Jonathan Culler. London: Blackwell. 1988. 140-55.

Auden, W. H. "The Truest Poetry is the Most Feigning." Collected Poems, London: Faber, 1976.

Calvino, Italo. "Piccola Guida alla Piccola Cosmogonia." Raymond Queneau. Piccola Cosmogonia Portatile. Trans, Sergio Solmi. Torino: Einaudi, 1982.

Carroll, Lewis. The Annotated Alice. Ed. Martin Gardner. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1960.

Cardenal, Ernesto. Cantico Cosmico. Madrid: Trotta. 1992.

Derrida, Jacques. Parages. Paris: Galilee, 1986.

Freud, Sigmund. Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious. Trans, James Strachey. London: Hogarth, 1960.

Groupe, Mu. Rhetorique generale. Paris: Larousse. 1970.

Guiraud, Pierre. Les Jeux de mots. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1976.

Hesbois, Laure. Les Jeux de langage. Ottawa: Editions de I'Universite d'Ottawa, 1986.

Law, Vivien. Wisdom, Authority and Grammar in the Seventh Century: Decoding Virgilius Maro Grammaticus. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Lovelock, James. The Ages of Gaia: A Biography of Our Living Earth. New York: Norton, 1988.

______. The Gaia Hypothesis. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979.

Plato. Timaeus. Trans. Desmond Lee. Penguin: Harmondsworth, 1965.

Queneau, Raymond. CEuvres Completes I. Ed. Claude Debon, Paris: Gallimard. 1989.

______. French original of an article published under the title "Science and Literature" in the Times Literary Supplement, 28 Sept. (1967): 863; copy of the typescript kindly supplied by the translator, Barbara Wright.

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______. "Quelques Maitres du XXe siecle." Les Ecrivains Celebres. Ed. Raymond Queneau. Rev. ed. 3 vols. Paris: Mazenod, 1966. Vol. 3, 434-39.

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Author:Andrews, Chris
Publication:French Forum
Article Type:Critical Essay
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Words:5098
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