November 22nd, 2009

rules and restrictions yield potential and creativity

Ben Schott of Schott’s Vocab has a feature on BBC Radio 4 about the Oulipo:

Founded in France in the 1960s, Oulipo – Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle (“The Workshop of Potential Literature”) – is a literary movement dedicated to exploring new possibilities in writing through the use of playful (but strict) rules, for example: avoiding the use of a vowel, or replacing every noun with the seventh noun following it in a dictionary. These rules are designed both to test the mettle of the writers and to demonstrate that creativity can be inspired by constraint.

To learn more, listen to the feature online here. It’s a fascinating group even if its president sounds like a pretentious burke!


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