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Thursday, 28 January 2010



File:Nekyia Staatliche Antikensammlungen 1494 n2.jpg



the heavy


Nekuia: Persephone supervising Sisyphus pushing his rock in the Underworld
: side A of Attic black-figure amphora, c. 530 BC, found at Vulci (Staatliche Antikensammlungen, Munich)


TC said...

It's always good to keep active.

And that hill feels pretty steep.

Or you could just never move at all, I suppose.

For example: the most static book ever written.

Stu said...

Wow, a verbless novel?

I must admit, I'm curious... keeping that up for 223 pages must've been a challenge. And probably a challenge to read too.

TC said...


I too was made curious by the thought and depressed by the implications as well as the execution. As verbs are the life of any party of sentences, 'twould seem leaving out the verbs would be the ultimate partykiller. And so it proves with the performance in question.

There have been various experiments in working without certain parts of speech. My favourite novelist in English, Henry Green, assiduously dropped out most of the articles in his novel about factory workers, Living. The clipped speech of the people he was writing about obviously influenced this experiment.

I find most programmatic experimental works deadly dull, though.

There is a form which determinedly avoids certain letters of the alphabet, called the lipogram (from the Greek: lipogrammatos==missing letter). The best known (and first) lipogrammatic novel is Gadsby: Champion of Youth, by Ernest Vincent Wright, 1939. It is written without the use of the letter "e". Indeed a rather sterile and humourless feat, and as such, of course, thoroughly unreadable.

The doggedly experimental French novelist Georges Perec, obviously influenced by Wright, wrote another "e"-less novel, La Disparition (The Void), 1969.

(There are further examples of this sort of thing, unfortunately...)

Curtis Roberts said...

I was reminded of this poem today, looked it up and checked your link to the verbless novel. Good grief. I love this short poem (and its companions also) and the picture.

TC said...

Many thanks, Curtis. I've been tinkering with these particular bits of moveable type for about forty years now. (You'd think they'd get lighter.)

Marie W said...

(What a headache it must be for the translator of that book without E's. Or without verbs!)
This might be my favourite one of this ingenious series of wor(l)d class delights . Verbs rock.