What do Marcel Duchamp and Italo Calvino have in common? The Oulipo, or Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle. This “Workshop for Potential Literature” was founded by Raymond Queneau and friends in 1960 to find out how abstract restrictions could be combined with imaginative writing (as in Georges Perec’s celebrated novel written without the letter e). Still formidably active, the Oulipo is now recognised as the most original, productive and provocative literary enterprise to appear since the last war. This Compendium is the first comprehensive survey of the group in any language. It includes extensive selections from the work of Oulipians, analyses of their important works, and descriptions of their methods. Further sections cover related groups working in the fields of art, detective fiction, comic strips, even cuisine. A vital resource for creativity in all areas!
Oulipo Compendium is a late 20th-century kabala, a labyrinth of literary secrets that will lure the unitiated into rethinking everything they know about books and writing. A nutty, one-of-a-kind book, the definitive encyclopaedia of contemporary word-magic. PAUL AUSTER
An indispensable book for everyone who cares about literature. SUSAN SONTAG
Book of the year! GILES FODEN in The Guardian