Site icon

Bourbaki and the Oulipo

The group of self-chosen elite, somewhat secretive mathematicians called Bourbaki have become the subject, or perhaps the object, of a study in a journal about romance. The study is:

Bourbaki and the Oulipo,” Jacques Roubaud [pictured here], Journal of Romance Studies, Volume 7, Number 3, Winter 2007 , pp. 123-132. The author, himself a profesor of poetry and former professor of mathematics, explains:

“This article presents the Oulipo or Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle [Workshop of Potential Literature], its founders, concerns, rules and members. It situates Oulipo in relation both to other literary groups which preceded it, notably the Surrealists, and to the mathematical collective Bourbaki, and gives examples of oulipian work done using mathematical structures.”

BONUS: The Wikipedia page for the word “Oulipo” says:

Oulipo (French pronunciation: [ulipo], short for FrenchOuvroir de littérature potentielle; roughly translated:“workshop of potential literature”) is a loose gathering of (mainly) French-speaking writers andmathematicians which seeks to create works using constrained writing techniques.

That Wikipedia page includes this passage as an example of Oulipian writing:

Singular Pleasures by Harry Mathews describes 61 different scenes, each told in a different style (generally poetic, elaborate, or circumlocutory) in which 61 different people (all of different ages, nationalities, and walks of life) masturbate.

Exit mobile version