QUENEAU, Raymond. One Hundred Million Million Poems.

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QUENEAU, Raymond One Hundred Million Million Poems Paris, Kickshaws Books, 1983

Large 8vo; Cream paper card wrappers with purple title lettering on front cover; spine bound with ribbon; unpagenated; slightly rubbed on bottom of front cover, otherwise fine.
First English Edition, hand set and printed in Bodini on Arches rag paper, Copy number 206 of 500
Published in 1961, Raymond Queneau's set of ten sonnets is printed on card with lines divorced from one another by a single strip. Any line from each sonnet can be combined with any of the others, given that the sonnets have not only the same rhyming scheme but the same rhyming sounds. This is intended to create the possibility for 100,000,000,000,000 alternative poems as all 10 individual sonnets can all be taken apart and rearranged in any order. Queneau famously calculated that anyone reading the book 24 hours a day would need 190,258,751 years to finish it. The mathematician Francois Le Lionnais came to Queneau's aid and together they forged the formulaic Oulipo literary movement, which uses extremely partiuclar writing techniques to compose alternative works (names such as writer Calvino were notable participants in this circle).