End of Oulipo?, The

End of Oulipo?, The

An attempt to exhaust a movement

As this experiment in literary patterns enters its sixth decade, its members, fans and critics are wondering: where can it go from here?


The Oulipo, founded in 1960s, is a group of writers and mathematicians which seeks to create literature using constrained experimental writing techniques such as palindromes, lipograms and snowballs. A lipogram is writing that excludes one or more letters. A snowball is a poem in which each line is a single word, and each successive word is one letter longer.

The Oulipo group celebrated its fiftieth birthday in 2010, and as it enters its sixth decade, its members, fans and critics are all wondering: where can it go from here? In two long essays Scott Esposito and Lauren Elkin consider Oulipo's strengths, weaknesses, and impact on today's experimental literature.


The End of Oulipo? is effective, informative, highly entertaining, and essential reading. http://www.winnipegreview.com/ ~ Jeff Bursey, The Winnipeg Review

Lauren Elkin
Lauren Elkin Lauren Elkin is a Paris-based critic and novelist; her essays on books and culture have appeared in many publications, including The Times L...
Scott Esposito
Scott Esposito Scott Esposito's criticism has appeared in Bookforum, the Los Angeles Times, the Review of Contemporary Fiction, the Los Angeles Review of B...

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