Literary Memory, Consciousness, and the Group Oulipo

Literary Memory, Consciousness, and the Group Oulipo

by Peter Consenstein


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The question of memory intrigues us more and more as industrialized societies move further and further away from the written word. In the past the role of memory was integral to literary history, precise mnemonics served as the support systems for erudition, and Mnemosyne was mother of the Muses. The group Oulipo, born in reaction to the Surrealists, proposes, invents, and applies novel literary constraints. Using memory, and best of all conscious memory, as a theoretical starting point, the implications of writing under constraint are analyzed. First, writing under constraint is viewed as a new mnemonics; second, the spiritual component of such a practice is shown to redefine a notion of inspiration; third, constraints and their relationship with games and society is highlighted; finally the manner in which they build a literary consciousness is studied through the lenspiece of contemporary neurobiological research. For the first time the work of the group Oulipo, and the member’s emphasis on the function of literature, is placed in historical, cultural, and philosophical context.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789042014381
Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 02/01/2002
Series: Faux Titre Series
Pages: 252
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Memory and Oulipian Constraints
Chapter 2: The Soul of Oulipo’s Formalism
Chapter 3: Games, the Oulipian Sonnet, and the Court of Charles d’Orléans
Chapter 4: Consciousness, Constraints, and Cosmology

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