This article presents a typology of the aesthetic functions of mathematics as structural device and literary motif and discusses various ways the mathematical can be integrated into the literary, showing that a genuine mathematization of literature is illusory and that mathematics,
when transposed into a literary text, is necessarily always poetical. It compares works by French Oulipo writers and works by non-oulipian English or American authors in order to determine how literature articulates numbers and letters and whether mathematics functions differently when integrated
into a literary text as constraints or as patterns.
Journal of Romance Studies promotes innovative critical work in the areas of linguistics, literature, performing and visual arts, media, material culture, intellectual and cultural history, critical and cultural theory, psychoanalysis, gender studies, social sciences, and anthropology. The primary focus is on those parts of the world that speak, or have spoken, French, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese, but work on other cultures may be included. Issues cross national and disciplinary boundaries in order to stimulate new ways of thinking about cultural history and practice.